Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for theft of trade secrets, reports The Verge. This is a reduction in his original sentence from March, which was recommended to 27 months by prosecutors in the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, and in addition to the $ 179 million he was sentenced to hand it over to Google, forcing it to file for bankruptcy.
If you’re not familiar with Levandowski’s case, he was a senior engineer at Google who was in charge of using Google’s self-driving car trade secrets to start Otto, a self-driving truck company that he then contacted. selling to Uber for $ 4.1 billion in 2016. The sale made him a lot of money and also placed him on Uber’s board, but soon after he was sued by Waymo, the autonomous branch of the company Google / Alphabet. They alleged that Levandowski used trade secrets to launch Otto, and even after settling the lawsuit, he was still in criminal trouble for his actions. So now he is sentenced to 18 months in prison (to be served at some point in the future due to COVID-19), as well as $ 757,000 in financial restitution to Google and a fine of $ 95,000.
It’s peanuts compared to the separate court order that bankrupted him, for $ 179 million to Google for poaching their employees when he launched Otto. It’s also far more than the roughly $ 120 million he received during his tenure as a Google executive.
In a press release, Levandowski expressed remorse for what he did after leaving Google:
“The past three and a half years have forced me to come to terms with what I have done. I want to take this time to apologize to my colleagues at Google for betraying their trust, and to all my family for the price they paid and will continue to pay for my actions. “
But Levandowski does not intend to fall on his sword alone. He also reportedly sued Uber for not paying him the money they agreed to pay in exchange for Otto but never did, following the Google trade secret affair. For that, he wants at least $ 4.1 billion in damages, a figure that was reached from the latest assessment of Uber Freight, the last vestige of Otto activity.