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Posted: September 18, 2017

Report: Feds investigating top Equifax executives’ stock trading


Report: Feds investigating top Equifax executives’ stock trading
This July 21, 2012, photo shows Equifax Inc., offices in Atlanta. Credit monitoring company Equifax says a breach exposed social security numbers and other data from about 143 million Americans. The Atlanta-based company said Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, that 'criminals' exploited a U.S. website application to access files between mid-May and July of this year. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

By Russell Grantham, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Department of Justice is investigating three top Equifax executives’ stock trades to see whether they violated insider trading laws, according to a media report Monday.

>> Read more trending news

Bloomberg reported that the federal agency probe is focused on Equifax’s chief financial officer and the presidents of two business units who sold a combined $1.8 million in stock in early August, days after the company learned of a massive security breach, but before it was made public.

A company representative said the executives “had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time.”

But company officials told investors that they had “promptly” informed their board of directors of the incident.

>> Related: Federal probe launched after Equifax data breach

Typically, top executives at public corporations use pre-programmed stock sales through a so-called 10b5-1 plan to avoid accusations of illegal insider trading. But the three executives’ stock sale disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that their stock sales were not pre-scheduled.

Earlier this month, Equifax, one of the nation’s three key credit-tracking bureaus, disclosed that hackers stole Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of 143 million people.

>> Related: Equifax, software maker blame each other for opening door to hackers

Equifax said the breach occurred from mid-May to late July, when it was discovered. The executives sold their stock a few days later, in early August.

The company has been swamped with consumers’ efforts to freeze their credit profiles in the wake of the data breach, according to consumer experts and people who have tried.

Friday, Equifax announced that two top executives were retiring, but none were among the three who disclosed large stock sales after the data breach.

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