Anthony Levandowski, an ex-engineer for Google’s self-driving car unit, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for trade secret theft during his various stints in the self-driving industry.
Anthony Levandowski was initially sentenced back in March when the US District Attorney’s office recommended a 27-month sentence. Judge William Alsup on Wednesday sentenced him to 18 months in prison, to be served at a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Levandowski loaded more than 14,000 Google files onto his laptop before leaving the firm in January 2016.
He led Uber’s robocar project, only to be fired in 2017 over this case.
Levandowski filed for bankruptcy in March this year because he owes $179m to Google’s parent company, Alphabet, for his actions.
Alphabet filed a lawsuit against Uber in 2017, accusing the company of colluding with its former employee to steal secrets from Waymo.
While Levandowski didn’t immediately join Uber after leaving the Google division that eventually became Waymo, the ride-hailing titan quickly acquired the self-driving truck startup he founded.
“The last three and a half years have forced me to come to terms with what I did. I want to take this time to apologize to my colleagues at Google for betraying their trust, and to my entire family for the price they have paid and will continue to pay for my actions,” Levandowski said in a statement.
Levandowski was once a superstar engineer in the fast-growing world of self-driving cars who helped jumpstart a Google division dedicated to the technology.
He was later accused of stealing documents from his time at Google before founding Otto. He would go on to sell Otto to Uber in 2016, which allowed him to join the ride-hailing company as a high-ranking executive in its self-driving division.