Sahil Uppal, a former Citadel LLC employee whose job involved developing high-frequency trading strategies, has pled guilty to obstructing a probe into the theft of trade secrets from the Chicago-based investment firm. Uppal entered his guilty plea on wednesday, August 13th, before U.S. in Chicago, just five days after co-defendant Yihao Pu also pled guilty to theft of proprietary information from Citadel and to stealing computer code from a New Jersey company contracted by Citadel.
Hedge fund firm Citadel LLC manages more than $20 billion in assets, and is managed by founder Kenneth C. Griffin.
Details on the case
According to court filings, by the time he began to work at Citadel, Pu confessed that he had already stolen proprietary computer code from a New Jersey firm. In today’s legal actions, Uppal admitted he had written three computer scripts for quantitative trading for Citadel and stored them in a computer accessible by him and Pu, without Citadel’s permission.
Court records also show that Pu and Uppal became employees of Citadel just four months apart in 2010 after working for an unidentified New Jersey, investment technologies firm.
Ex-Citadel employee removed evidence
Things began to unravel for the pair in August 2011 when Citadel representatives told Pu they suspected that he had taken confidential information and to return anything he had taken. At that point, Uppal and another person removed computer equipment from Pu’s apartment storing the confidential information.
Pu was initially charged in the fall of 2011. The indictment was revised in 2013 to add extra charges against him and bring seven new charges against Uppal (six for wire fraud).
Facing over 20 counts of wire fraud, theft of trade secrets, computer fraud and obstruction, Pu came to an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to two counts of stealing trade secrets. Each count could result in 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Courts records indicate that sentencing for both Pu and Uppal is scheduled for November 7.
The case docket number is U.S. v. Pu, 11-cr-00699, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois.