A former high-ranking executive at Equifax (EFX) allegedly sold almost $1 million in company shares more than a week before the company revealed a massive data breach, federal officials said Wednesday. He was able to avoid $117,000 in losses due to the illegal trades, according to the SEC. To keep the Equifax breach confidential, the email and subsequent discussions didn't name Equifax as the victim and instead suggested it involved an Equifax client.
Ying only needed a few hours, however, to suspect his employer was the one that had been breached, prosecutors said.
For a CIO at a financial company, Ying didn't exactly do a great job at covering his tracks.
The following Monday, Ying then searched the web for the impact of Experian's 2015 data breach on its stock price. "Starting to put 2 and 2 together".
Over the next few hours, Ying allegedly received numerous additional indications that Equifax was the company hit by the breach he and his team were responding to. By that point, it was a Friday evening, and security markets were closed.
Its alleged he knew of last summer's breach, and knew the stock would plummet as soon as the breach was announced.
CFO John Gamble sold nearly $950,000 worth of shares, and US information solutions president, Joseph Loughran, sold shares worth about $685,000 on August 1.
Three other Equifax executives had previously drawn attention for disclosing stock sales just days before the breach was made public. On September 8, Equifax shares closed down 14 percent from the prior day's close.
Jun Ying, Equifax's chief information officer was based in Atlanta, and is a married father of two.
Equifax's interim chief executive said in a statement that Ying left the company after it reviewed Ying's trading activity and concluded he had violated its trading policies.
"We are fully cooperating with the DOJ and the SEC, and will continue to do so", Barros said in the statement.