A former top Equifax executive has been charged with insider trading for selling nearly $1 million in company stock once he learned about the major data breach in 2017, right before it was announced to the public. According to a report in The New York Times, Jun Ying, the former chief information officer of Equifax’s core U.S. consumer reporting division, exercised all of his vested stock options and sold nearly $1 million in shares more than a week before the company announced that hackers had broken into its systems.
Criminal Charges Filed
The massive data breach, shaping up to be the largest in U.S. history, compromised sensitive consumer information including the Social Security numbers of more than 140 million Americans. Ying managed to avoid $117,000 in losses because of the timing of his sale, the Securities and Exchange Commission stated in a civil complaint. The U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta also announced parallel criminal charges against Ying.
Under the law, it is illegal for corporate insiders who learn inside information to use that information and betray shareholders for their own financial benefit. Stock trades by Equifax employees have drawn scrutiny since the data breach was made public. The SEC discovered that four senior executives including the chief financial officer sold shares worth $1.8 million in the days after the company began to investigate the breach and more than a month before the public announcement was made. Equifax conducted its own investigation and its board concluded that none of the four executives knew about the data breach when they made their trades.
Millions Affected by Equifax Data Breach
As consumer attorneys, we are appalled by the top executive’s alleged actions. It is unacceptable for the few on top to take their money and run while millions of consumers have their personal information compromised and could potentially have their data and resources stolen. If you or a loved one has suffered losses as a result of this massive data breach, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. An experienced California class action lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.