SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Among those give pardons by President Donald Trump as he departed the White House was Silicon Valley tech executive Anthony Levandowski, who had pleaded guilty to theft of trade secrets involving Google and Uber.
Levandowski, a former engineer at Google and Uber pleaded guilty last year to stealing confidential information from Google’s self-driving car program and received an 18-month prison sentence.READ MORE: 4.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Los Angeles
The 40-year-old Levandowski pleaded guilty to one of the 33 counts of trade secrets theft originally filed against him in 2019. In addition to his sentence, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered Levandowski to pay a $95,000 fine and $756,499.22 in restitution.
In pardoning Levandowski, Trump wrote: “Mr. Levandowski pled guilty to a single criminal count arising from civil litigation. Notably, his sentencing judge called him a “brilliant, groundbreaking engineer that our country needs.” Mr. Levandowski has paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good.”
Levandowski, a Marin County resident, worked in Google’s self-driving car program from 2009 to 2016 before leaving for Uber. When he left, he downloaded about 14,000 files about the program to his laptop.San Francisco Mayor Defends Criticism After Video Catches Her Dancing Maskless at Night Club
“Levandowski admitted he downloaded this file with the intent to use it to benefit himself and Uber Technologies, Inc,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Northern District office read.
The DOJ estimated that the loss attributed to Levandowski’s theft was up to $1,500,000.
“This is the biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen. This was not small. This was massive in scale,” Judge Alsup said when sentencing Levandowski.
Levandowski agreed to the plea deal in March 2020 after declaring bankruptcy. He still owes $179 million to Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., according to CNBC.MORE NEWS: COVID: San Mateo County Mounts Effort to Boost Coastal Town Vaccination Rates
Judge Alsup ruled that authorities could take him into custody after the COVID-19 pandemic ended. As part of his deal, the court granted Levandowski a 3-year period of supervised release with the condition that he regularly give a speech called “Why I Went to Federal Prison.”