SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Former Google self-driving program executive Anthony Scott Levandowski has submitted documents requesting that a federal judge accept his guilty plea to theft of trade secrets charges, prosecutors announced Thursday.
U.S. Attorney Dave Anderson said the documents included a request to U.S. District Court Judge William H. Alsup to accept a proposed plea agreement and a request to schedule a date for a sentencing hearing.
Levandowski, 39, worked in Google’s self-driving car program for approximately seven years. According to the proposed plea agreement, he acknowledged that during this time, he was aware his employment agreement required that he keep Google’s valuable non-public information confidential.
He also knew that the non-public information related to Project Chauffeur was sensitive and subject to the confidentiality requirement.
Nevertheless, while Levandowski was considering leaving Google, and prior to his departure in 2016, he obtained and stored thousands of confidential files with the intent to use them for his personal benefit after his departure from the company.
Specifically, on December 11, 2015, Levandowski downloaded approximately 14,000 files from an internal, password-protected Google server known as “SVN,” which was hosted on Google’s network. Then, on or about December 14, 2015, he transferred those SVN files from his Google-issued laptop to his personal laptop.
In addition, prior to his departure from Google, he downloaded a variety of files from a corporate Google Drive repository to his personal laptop.
Within months after Levandowski’s departure from Google, he created a new company that was then purchased by Uber.
Levandowski admitted that while he was working for Google, he downloaded at least 20 files from Google Drive. Among the files downloaded between October 2015 and January 2016, was an internal tracking document entitled “Chauffeur TL weekly updates – Q4 2015.”
The update contained a variety of details regarding the status of Google’s self-driving car program. Levandowski admitted he downloaded the file with the intent to use it for the benefit of himself and Uber and that he accessed the document after his resignation from Google.
Levandowski acknowledged that the document qualified as a trade secret. In sum, Levandowski admitted a reasonable estimate of the loss attributed to his conduct is up to $1.5 million.
A federal grand jury indicted Levandowski last August charging him with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets. If the court accepts the plea agreement, Levandowski will plead guilty to one count and the judge will dismiss the remaining counts at sentencing.
Should the court accept his plea, Levandowski will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.