Former Equifax exec charged with insider trading following data breach

Fallout continues from a 2017 hack that affected roughly 148 million Americans.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
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For the millions of Americans affected by it, last year's Equifax breach was likely anything but profitable. Not so for a software worker at the company, says the US Department of Justice.

On Thursday, the DOJ filed insider trading charges in federal court against Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu, a former Equifax software development manager. The agency alleges Bonthu learned of the breach before it was made public and used the info to make more than $75,000 on the stock market.

Bonthu isn't the first Equifax executive charged with insider trading after the massive data breach. In March, the SEC alleged that Jun Ying, a former chief information officer with Equifax's US branch, dumped company stock based on confidential information about the breach, thus avoiding a loss of more than $100,000. Ying has pleaded not guilty.

As a consumer credit reporting firm, Equifax collects personal information on hundreds of millions of people without being required to notify them. The 2017 data breach affected roughly 148 million Americans, whose data, including names and partial driver's licence information, was stolen by hackers.

An attorney for Bonthu didn't respond to a request for comment but told The Wall Street Journal that Bonthu looks forward to his case proceeding through the criminal justice system.

Equifax said in a statement that it dismissed Bonthu after he declined to cooperate with a company investigation into potential trading activity and that it's fully cooperating with the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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