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Maybe Just Leave That Proprietary Trading Code At The Office

Resist the temptation Kang Gao could not.
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Don't do it. Just, don't.

Three years ago, it stopped being a federal crime to take a little memento of your time at Goldman Sachs (or, presumably, someplace else, although this has not yet been tested in the courts) with you—namely, some high-frequency trading code. In New York and Illinois (and possibly elsewhere), however, it remains a state crime. One that carries with it some enforced time away, as this guy found out.

Kang Gao, a Chinese national, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful duplication of computer-related material. He is expected to be sentenced to 10 months in prison in April….

Marc Agnifilo, Gao's lawyer, said in an interview that Gao had already served enough time to allow him to go free when he is sentenced.

Gao's guilty plea came one day after Jason Vuu, a former trader at Flow Traders, avoided prison time for stealing proprietary trading strategy files and source code from his employer. Vuu pleaded guilty in October to two felony counts and was sentenced to five years of probation and close to $50,000 in restitution.

So, you know, bad news and good for our old friend Sergey Aleynikov, who spent a year behind bars for crossing Gary Cohn’s grundle after being wrongly arrested for something that turned out not to be a crime. When he faces a Manhattan jury again in April, he may well be convicted again, and he may well be sentenced to prison again. But even then, all is not lost: Perhaps that lost year in federal prison will finally be worth something. At the very least, he probably won’t be going away for eight years again.

Ex-hedge fund analyst pleads guilty in NYC to copying trading code [Reuters]