Former Equifax CIO charged with insider trading

Former Equifax CIO charged with insider trading

Shares of the Atlanta-based credit reporting firm plunged in early September after the company revealed it was the victim of a data breach.

A former executive at Equifax has been indicted for insider trading, accused of pocketing almost a million dollars in stock he cashed in, days before the company announced a massive data breach.

In addition to the SEC's charge of insider trading, Ying is also facing criminal charges from the US 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 R. Best, Director of the SEC's Atlanta Regional Office, said in a statement. "Corporate insiders who learn inside information, including information about material cyber intrusions, can not betray shareholders for their own financial benefit", Richard R. Best, director of the SEC's Atlanta office, said in a statement announcing the charges against Ying.

Equifax detected that hackers had exploited a vulnerability on its website on July 29, 2017, potentially exposing personal information on 148 million consumers. Three Equifax Inc. senior executives - Chief Financial Officer John Gamble, and unit presidents Joseph Loughran and Rodolfo Ploder - sold shares worth nearly $1.8 million in the days after the company discovered the breach.

Jun Ying was CIO of Equifax's United States Information Systems business unit in the months leading up to Equifax's bombshell announcement on September 7 that the breach exposed Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other sensitive data for as many as 143 million people.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Ying had an attorney who could comment.

Ying sent text messages to a co-worker saying, "Sounds bad. We may be the one breached", the Department of Justice said in its statement. The following Monday, Ying conducted web searches on the impact of Experian's 2015 data breach on its stock price. He exercised all his available stock options and received 6,815 shares of Equifax stock, which he sold for more than $950,000 - a total gain of more than $480,000, prosecutors said.

Later that morning, on August 28, he exercised all his available stock options and received 6,815 shares of Equifax stock, which he sold for more than $950,000.

Upon learning about Mr. Ying's August sale of Equifax shares, we launched a review of his trading activity, concluded he violated our company's trading policies, separated him from the company, and reported our findings to government authorities.