US, ex-Goldman programmer get more time for talks

NEW YORK Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:09pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. government will have another month to seek an indictment against or reach a settlement with a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) programmer accused of stealing trade secrets.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas has delayed further proceedings to Feb. 16 in the government's case against the former programmer Sergey Aleynikov, court records show.

Prosecutors have accused Aleynikov of downloading stolen Goldman proprietary code onto a home computer, a theft that could cost the Wall Street bank millions of dollars.

The government in a November filing indicated the case might be resolved with a deferred prosecution agreement or a misdemeanor plea, which could result in Aleynikov receiving no prison time.

Prosecutors often seek to postpone white-collar cases to engage in plea talks. Judges typically grant such requests.

A copy of the U.S. attorney's request for an extension was not immediately available. The request usually explains the status of communications between the parties. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's declined to comment.

In typical deferred prosecutions, prosecutors agree to dismiss charges after a period of time, so long as defendants perform various requirements and do not break the law.

Aleynikov has told investigators Goldman knew he had worked on the relevant code from home previously without complaint, and that he had no intent to steal.

The FBI arrested Aleynikov last July 3 at Newark Liberty International Airport. He was later freed on $750,000 bail following several days of detention.

Aleynikov worked at Goldman in New York for two years before joining Chicago-based Teza Technologies LLC in June. Teza suspended him following his arrest.

The case is U.S. v. Aleynikov, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-mj-01553. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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