A former AllianceBernstein Holding LP brokerage worker has been charged with stealing software the company used to transmit messages containing data about customers and transactions, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said on Wednesday.

Peter Jan, a 35-year-old Queens, New York resident, was charged with four counts of computer trespass and one count each of grand larceny and unlawful duplication of computer-related materials. Each is a felony charge punishable by up to four years in prison.

The defendant, who was leaving his job and moving to a new firm, saw and took an opportunity to steal AllianceBernstein's software, Vance said in a statement. Employees who take advantage of their access to sensitive information will face criminal prosecution for data theft.

It was unclear if Jan had retained a lawyer, and he could not be reached for comment.

Vance said Jan was an AllianceBernstein application support specialist who downloaded software without permission on at least four dates prior to his planned March 19 resignation.

AllianceBernstein fired Jan on March 15, Vance said.

A spokesman for the New York-based company did not immediately return a call seeking comment on what information was stolen or how it may have been used.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel)