'Commingle' hundreds of millions in client funds which are subsequently stolen rehypothecated as collateral by JPMorgan while your firm goes bankrupt as a result of your idiotic prop trading decisions, and what happens? Your toughest choice is whether to vacation in Fiji or St Barths. That said, being former CEO of the world's biggest TBTF hedge fund also known as Goldman, a former governor and senator, and most importantly bundler for the president of the "transparent" administration certainly helps. On the other hand, be a lowly algo trader and quant programmer working at the aforementioned hedge fund, and having dared to "steal" secret trading client code that can "manipulate markets" and what - you get the full wrath and anger of the FBI, the Federal Court System, and now the Supreme Court.
The story of former Goldman programmer Sergey Aleynikov is well known to frequent readers: he was one of the first algo traders to bring attention to the arcane field in the summer of 2009, when aside from a few 'fringe blogs', nobody had even heard of algorithmic trading or the HFT scourge that less than a year later would result in the Flash Crash (and countless mini and maxi flash crashes since). What was remarkable about Sergey's case, unlike that of say... Jon Corzine, is how quickly the law proceeded to throw the book at him and to see him wind up in jail.
How else: after all he dared to "steal" code (a practice engaged by every single algo and quant programmer when they switch jobs by the way, if perhaps a little less obviously) from Goldman Sachs itself. For that alone he must fry.
And sure enough, he will.
Because the last time we read about Sergey in February of 2012, a federal appeals court in new York overturned his sentence of corporate espionage that had been handed to him in December 2010 by a federal jury, on the grounds that federal espionage laws did not cover Aleynikov's alleged illegal activity.
But then last August, NY's new State Attorney General, Cyrus Vance Jr, still humiliated from the whole DSK affair, resurrected the case acaginst the Russian and charged Aleynikov with two felonies under New York state law, unlawful use of secret scientific material and unlawful duplication of computer related material.
Sure enough, Sergey's lawyers appealed again, only this time no such luck, even though the prior appeal was granted on virtually the same grounds.
In a decision made public on Tuesday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel said the former programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, did not show that the charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr amounted to double jeopardy, or were part of a "vindictive prosecution" justifying dismissal.
Zweibel also rejected the argument that Aleynikov has been "punished enough," having already spent 11 months in prison during the federal proceedings and lost his home and savings, and that ending the case served the interest of justice.
Vance and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, who had earlier prosecuted Aleynikov, have made cracking down on computer crime and corporate espionage a top priority.
Zweibel said Aleynikov was not deprived of his right under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution not to be tried twice for the same offense.
He said this was because the federal and state charges were different, and because the federal case was dismissed because the indictment, rather than the evidence, was inadequate.
The judge also said there was no reason to presume that Vance had an improper motive in bringing his case.
"Even assuming, as defendant does, that the timing of this indictment, coupled with the defendant's successful appeal of his federal court conviction, raises an inference that the prosecution may have been motivated for vindictive reasons, these factors along do not create a presumption of vindictiveness," Zweibel wrote.
No, obviously Goldman's lackeys in the judicial system are not at all vindictive. After all why not just destroy the man who already lost his home and all his savings fighting the squid for the past four years for doing something that every other banker, trader and programmer does on a daily basis when they "back up" their work computer on a flash drive. Might as well let him fry: what's the downside at this point?
Well, fry is a little strong: "Aleynikov could face up to four years in prison if convicted."
What can one say after hearing of such valiant acts of justice to punish those who are truly responsible for the absolute economic collapse and the unprecedented crony capitalism and daylight robbery from the middle classes facilitated by every country's central monetary authority?
Why, "Free Corzine" of course! As if this country did not have enough innocently jailed people...
In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, behold the face of a pure, unadulterated criminal- the mastermind behind the vaporization of MF Global's client accounts and the person solely responsible for making the US financial Ponzi scheme into a superglued house of cards to boot.