Ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski is in big trouble. The former employee is being charged with taking self-driving car trade secrets and according to the Department of Justice, is considered a flight risk.
The DOJ is asking for a $2 million bond on Levandowski after revealing a criminal indictment against him on Tuesday. The indictment charges Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets.
According to the DOJ, Levandowski downloaded thousands of confidential files from Google’s self-driving car project before resigning and eventually creating a start-up that was acquired by Uber.
Levandowski had worked at Google’s self-driving car project but left in 2016 to launch his own self-driving truck company that was later acquired by Uber.
Levandowski surrendered himself at the San Jose courthouse Tuesday morning according to U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson. He had pleaded not guilty to all counts at his arraignment.
Both Uber and Google cooperated with government officials, Anderson said to reporters.
The investigation is ongoing.
Levandowski faces up to 10 years of imprisonment on each count. His attorney Ismail Ramsey, argued at the arraignment that his client is not a flight risk and has cooperated to turn himself into authorities.
According to Ramsey and another attorney Miles Ehrlich, the indictment “rehashes claims already discredited in a civil case that settled more than a year and a half ago. The downloads at issue occurred while Anthony was still working at Google — when he and his team were authorized to use the information. None of these supposedly secret files ever went to Uber or any other company.”
“The criminal charges filed against Anthony relate exclusively to Lidar and do not in any way involve Pronto’s ground-breaking technology,” Pronto said in a statement. “Of course, we are fully supportive of Anthony and his family during this period.”
In a statement, a spokesperson from Waymo, Google’s self driving unit said, “We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation, and we appreciate the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI on this case.”
Uber stated, “we cooperated with the government throughout their investigation and will continue to do so.”