ATLANTA - A former Equifax employee based in Atlanta has been indicted on charges that he sold his company stock days before news of the massive data breach that impacted more than 145 million people.
Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office, along with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, announced the indictment of Jun Ying, 42, on charges of insider trading and securities fraud.
According to investigators, Ying was the Chief Information Officer of Equifax U.S. Information Solutions and had access to inside information about the company.
On August 25, 2017, investigators allege Ying discovered through his work at Equifax that the company was the victim of hackers. A few days later, authorities said Ying researched what might happen to the value of the company's stock. He then exercised his company stock options and sold his 6,815 Equifax shares for nearly $1 million on August 28, 2017. Information about the Equifax data breach was not made public until September 7.
"This defendant took advantage of his position as Equifax's USIS Chief Information Officer and allegedly sold over $950,000 worth of stock to profit before the company announced a data breach that impacted over 145 million Americans," said U.S. Attorney Byung J. "BJay" Pak. "Our office takes the abuse of trust inherent in insider trading very seriously and will prosecute those who seek to profit in this manner."
Pak said his office subpoenaed the company for information about Ying in September of 2017.
"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. We are fully cooperating with the DOJ and the SEC, and will continue to do so," said Paulino Do Rego Barros, Jr., the interim CEO in a statement. "We take corporate governance and compliance very seriously, and will not tolerate violations of our policies."
Authorities would not explicitly confirm whether the company had been cooperative.
"We got information from them. I'll leave it at that," said Pak.
Investigators said the case remains open and they could not disclose whether other employees may be part of the probe.
According to the business data website Crunchbase.com, Ying joined Equifax in 2013 and had previously worked for Coca-Cola, ING, and Delta. He graduated from Georgia Tech.
A federal grand jury indicted Ying on March 13. He will be arraigned on the charges against him on Thursday.