A former engineer at Google’s self-driving car unit has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for trade secret theft shortly before joining Uber.
US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said Anthony Lewandowski had committed “the biggest trade secret crime I’ve ever seen.”
Lewandowski loaded more than 14,000 Google files on his laptop before leaving the firm in January 2016.
He led Uber’s robbery project, only to be fired in 2017, in this case.
Lewandowski filed for bankruptcy in March this year as he paid $ 179m (£ 136m) for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, for his actions.
Judge Alsup said “billions [of dollars] According to the report of the news agency Reuters, the game was going on in the future and when there are such financial incentives, good people will do terrible things and it happened. ”
Lewandowski – who was a founding member of Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo – was expecting a sentence of 12 months imprisonment at his home in the San Francisco suburbs.
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He said he has pneumonia, and may have died of coronovirus in prison.
But Judge Alsup said a non-detention sentence would amount to “a green light to steal trade secrets to every future brilliant engineer”.
He ruled that Lewandowski could begin his detention sentence after the Kovid-19 epidemic reached its peak.
Prosecutors had recommended a 27-month sentence.
Lewandowski, who now operates self-driving truck company Proto, said in a statement: “Today is the end of three and a half years and the beginning of another long road ahead.”
Uber sued Alphabet over theft of trade secrets, but the dispute between the companies continues.
According to TechCrunch, Lewandowski is suing Uber for $ 4.1bn stemming from the acquisition of its previous self-driving truck start-up, Otto.