Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission filed criminal charges against Equifax CIO Jun Ying

A former top official of Equifax is not feeling good these days after he was charged by US authorities with insider trading.

The insider trading accusations came into the picture after the former official allegedly sold off all of his stock in the credit rating agency last summer before the massive data breach was discovered.

Both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission filed criminal charges against Jun Ying, who was CIO at Equifax’s US Information Solutions.

The charges were filed after the two agencies discovered in their investigations that Ying sold nearly a million dollars of stock in his employer before news of the breach became public.

The investigations conducted by the US authorities revealed that last August Ying became aware of information suggesting that Equifax had been hit by hackers.

The investigators said on August 25,201, Ying texted a co-worker that the breach they were working on “Sounds bad. We may be the one breached.”

Data further showed that following Monday, Ying conducted web searches on the impact of Experian’s 2015 data breach on its stock price. Later
that morning, he exercised all of his available stock options held at UBS Financial Services, resulting in him receiving 6,815 shares of Equifax stock, which he then sold, receiving $950,000, realising a gain of over $480,000.

The SEC in its complaint said that by selling before public disclosure of the data breach, Ying avoided more than $117,000 in losses.

Richard Best, director, Atlanta regional office, SEC, further explained that “Corporate insiders who learn inside information, including information about material cyber intrusions, cannot betray shareholders for their own financial benefit.”

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Peter Schmidt is a journalist focused on latest technologies in banking. Peter Schmidt is a senior writer and video host at TheOofy. He also hosts a podcast about tech finance. Previously, Schmidt was a finance reporter for Mashable and has been a contributor at APA, Fortune and Forbes. Schmidt has a Master's in Journalism from Heidelberg University.