Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer and serial entrepreneur who was at the center of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison on one count of stealing trade secrets.
Judge Alsup said that home confinement would “[give] a green light to every future brilliant engineer to steal trade secrets. Prison time is the answer to that.”
During court proceedings today, Levandowski also agreed to pay $756,499.22 in restitution to Waymo and a fine of $95,000.
“Today marks the end of three and a half long years and the beginning of another long road ahead. I’m thankful to my family and friends for their continued love and support during this difficult time,” Levandowski said in a statement provided by his attorneys after the sentencing.
The U.S. District Attorney’s office had recommended a 27-month sentence, arguing in court today that Levandowski had committed the crime for ego or greed, and that he remained a wealthy man. Levandowski had sought a fine, 12 months home confinement and 200 hours of community service.
“It was wrong for him to take all of these files, and it erases the contributions of many, many other people that have also put their blood, sweat and tears into this project that makes a safer self-driving car,” prosecutor Katherine Wawrzyniak said in her closing statement. “When someone as brilliant as Mr. Levandowski and as focused on his mission to create self-driving cars to make the world safer and better, and that somehow excuses his actions, that’s wrong.”
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