Former IBM employee sentenced to 5 years in prison for stealing source code

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas sentenced, Jiaqiang Xu, 32 to prison for the theft of a trade secret and economic espionage.

U.S prosecutors disclosed that a former software engineer for IBM, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison following his guilty plea of stealing proprietary source code from the software giant.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas in White Plains, New York, sentenced Jiaqiang Xu, 32, to a 5 year term in prison, said a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

In May 2017, Xu pleaded guilty to theft of a trade secret and economic espionage.

Leanne Marek, Xu’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Xu’s public LinkedIn profile, he worked for International Business Machines (IBM) Corp from 2010 to 2014.

IBM was not identified by name in court documents and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Arrested in December 2015 by an undercover officer at White Plains hotel, authorities say, they have a recording of him saying he used proprietary IBM code to make software to sell to customers.

Originally charged with theft of a trade secret, charges of economic espionage were added in a superseding indictment filed in June 2017.

According to the prosecution, the proprietary computer code Xu stole was related to a clustered file system which facilitates faster computer performance.

Xu who joined IBM in China in 2010, had full access to the source code before voluntarily resigning in May 2014, said prosecutors.

As per a criminal complaint filed in 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received a report in 2014 that someone in China was claiming to have access to the code and was using it for business ventures, which prompted the investigation and led to his arrest.

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