ATLANTA – Insider trading charges were announced Wednesday against an ex-Equifax executive who sold his shares for nearly $ 1 million for the company’s massive data breach was revealed to the public and the stock price fell.
A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted Jun Ying, 42, the former chief information officer of Equifax’s U.S. Information Solutions, part of the Atlanta-based credit reporting company. The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday also charged Them with insider trading.
It was not immediately clear if Ying had a lawyer who can respond to the charges.
The SEC and the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta said federal investigations are ongoing. Ying is the only former Equifax executive called Tuesday in the indictment.
Equifax Chief Financial Officer, John Gamble and three other executives sold shares worth a combined $1.8 million, days after Equifax discovered suspicious activity on the network and almost a month before Ying sold his shares — but Equifax said an independent commission established that the other executives did not know of the violation, when their transactions were made.
A total of approximately 147.9 million Americans are affected by Equifax’s data breach, which is still the largest exposure of personal information in history. It was known to the public Sept. 7.
The SEC noted that at the time of the violation, the Ying was often taxed with non-public information of the company and is a leading candidate to be the global CIO of Equifax, a job that he in fact offered on Sept. 15, the same day the company announced CIO Dave Webb would retire.
Federal authorities say that Equifax discovered the suspicious activity on the network on July 29. In mid-August, the company changed the administrative credentials for many of its internal databases. Ying was aware of these changes, and the employees who reported to him were responsible for a number of them. On Aug. 25, Ying together with a number of employees who reported to him were asked to help answer, although he told then that the work in question to a potential Equifax customer, not Equifax, the indictment says.
Ying sent text messages to a colleague to say, “Sounds bad. We can be the one violated,” and “I’m starting to put 2 and 2 together,” the indictment says.
Three days later, Ying used are Equifax computer to do internet searches on the effect on the Experian share price of 2015 an infringement on that credit reporting company. Later that morning, in Aug. 28, he held his available options and receive 6,815 shares of Equifax stock, which he sold for more than $950,000. That represented a profit of more than $480,000, prosecutors said.
The SEC complaint says Ying worked at Equifax and October.
“When learning about the Lord Ying August sales of Equifax shares, we have launched a review of its trading activities, concluded he violated our company is the trade in policy, separated him from the company and reported our findings to the government,” Equifax said in a statement via e-mail. “We are fully cooperating with the DOJ and the SEC, and will continue to do so.”