So, this Russian immigrant left his first and only finance job after a couple of years to work at another firm for 3 times the pay--and around $1 million-- a pretty clear case of stealing intellectual property (he was busted taking many lines of code). Yet interestingly, Goldman Sachs somehow got they guy convicted criminally, under the Economic Espionage Act, highlighting they have the best relations with all levels of our government. Aleynikov was freed on appeal last week.
Goldman is actually pretty reasonable most times. After all, many of their ex-employees go off to start successful funds, so it's not like they are paranoid, litigious bastards whose ex-employees don't get such opportunities. What this guy did was wrong, but this clearly was prosecutorial overreach: he was serving an 8-year sentence in Fort Dix. One thing I learned in litigation is that when a powerful guy wants you stopped, he will throw the kitchen sink at you to see what sticks. This is when intention drives tactics, because with federal or state law, intellectual property or confidentiality agreement, criminal vs. civil law, it doesn't matter, the company will use what works best, and some pretext will sound defensible to those without a dog in the fight (most everyone). But I really hope the people behind the initial legal decisions go to a special circle of hell because justice is about proportion, not right/wrong, and this was highly disproportionate.