Nation & World

Ex-Equifax exec charged with illegal trading

After learning of hacking, CIO sold his stock for almost $1 million, SEC says

Credit reporting company Equifax  Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017.   REUTERS/Tami Chappell
Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged a former Equifax executive with insider trading, alleging that he profited from confidential information about the massive breach at the company that compromised sensitive data of 148 million people.

Jun Ying, former chief information officer of a U.S. business unit of Equifax, faces civil and criminal charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

“Ying used confidential information to conclude that his company had suffered a massive data breach, and he dumped his stock before the news went public,” Richard Best, director of the SEC’s Atlanta regional office, said in a statement.

Within an hour of discovering how Experian’s stock price had suffered after a much smaller hack, Ying exercised all of his vested Equifax stock options, according to the complaints. He then sold those shares for nearly $1 million.

Equifax disclosed last year hackers had obtained sensitive information, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth, for more than 143 million people.

The breach began in May and was discovered by the company July 29.

“The alleged actions of this defendant undermine the public’s confidence in the nation’s stock markets,” David LeValley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement.

Ying’s attorney declined to comment.

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