Would-Be Hedge Fund High-Frequency Programmer Gets Three Years

Mar 1 2011 | 5:24am ET

Samarth Agrawal, the former Société Générale trader convicted of stealing the bank’s high-frequency trading code for use at his new hedge fund job, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Agrawal, an Indian citizen, had faced up to eight years in prison on the theft of trade secrets and transporting stolen property charges. His lawyer has asked that he be credited with time served; the former trader has been in jail since he was arrested last April.

“In the case of this defendant, we have an essentially good guy who did something very bad,” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said in imposing sentence.

For most of his trial last year, Agrawal denied any wrongdoing. But towards the end of it, he admitted that he took the code and shared it with hedge fund Tower Research Capital, where he was seeking—and won—a job. Tower has denied it hired Agrawal to gain access to the SocGen code.

The 27-year-old  was convicted in November. He faces deportation to his native India upon his release.

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