Equifax executives subject to criminal probe

Equifax executives subject to criminal probe”

The U.S. Justice Department is said to be investigating the questionable sale of stock by Equifax executives in advance of the company's public announcement of its massive data breach.

US prosecutors in Atlanta, who are looking into the share sales, said in a statement they are also examining the breach and theft of people's personal information in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Bloomberg was first to report earlier this month that three Equifax executives - Chief Financial Officer John Gamble, President of U.S. Information Solutions Joseph Loughran, and President of Workforce Solutions Rodolfo Ploder - sold stock in the company totaling almost $2 million in the days after the breach was discovered on July 29.

Bloomberg cited "people familiar with the investigation" who asked not to be named because it is confidential. Lawmakers, state attorneys general and several regulators are scrutinizing the breach that compromised the privacy of 143 million US consumers, according to Equifax statements. The company found out about the hack on July 29, and made a public announcement on September 7.

We are reaching out to Equifax and the U.S. Justice Department for comment and will update this post if we hear back. The three executives sold shares worth nearly $1.8 million in early August.

Hanley Chew, a privacy and data security lawyer at Fenwick & West, said last week that the stock sales could trigger a criminal investigation. The company has said that the execs weren't aware of the break-in at the time. The transactions were not disclosed in regulatory filings for pre-scheduled trading activities.

Atlanta U.S. Attorney John Horn didn't say whether there was an investigation into this matter, but he did confirm that the DOJ was looking into the hack itself.

Members of the U.S. Senate and House have been putting pressure on Equifax to explain the trades in question.

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