A Connecticut man was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he illegally sold a secret source code used for Microsoft Corp.´s Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 programs, federal prosecutors said.
The Manhattan United States Attorney´s Office said William P. Genovese, Jr., 27, was charged with unlawfully distributing a trade secret, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine if he is convicted.
Genovese was not immediately available for comment.
Prosecutors charged in the criminal complaint that Genovese posted a message on his Web site offering to sell the source code, which had previously been stolen by others. Access to a software program´s source code can allow someone to replicate the program or find vulnerabilities.
In February 2004, prosecutors said, an investigator hired by Microsoft downloaded a copy of the source code from Genovese´s site after making an electronic payment. On another occasion, an undercover FBI agent also made an electronic payment to Genovese and downloaded a copy of the code, according to the complaint.
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