United States v. Pu

Pu, a 28-year-old quantitative finance professional, worked for two financial institutions that traded stock and other assets for clients: “A” and Citadel. While working at each company, Pu copied proprietary software from his employer’s computer system to personal storage devices . The software allowed them to execute strategic trades at high speeds and were company trade secrets. Pu’s copying of the files was a significant data breach. Normally, crimes involving the theft of computer trade secrets lead to the sale of the data to, or the thief being hired by, a company that will use the data. Pu, however, used the data to conduct computerized stock market trades for himself and lost $40,000. Pu pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a trade secret belonging to A and unlawful transmission of a trade secret belonging to Citadel and was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered him to pay over $750,000 in restitution. The Seventh Circuit vacated the sentence, stating that the district court’s factual findings did not support its conclusion that Pu intended to cause a loss of approximately $12 million and that the court erred by awarding restitution without evidence that reflected a complete accounting of the victims’ investigation costs. View "United States v. Pu" on Justia Law