Legal

DOJ Opens Investigation Into Stock Sales By Equifax Executives

Embattled Equifax was dealt another blow in the wake of its data breach as the U.S. Justice Department has decided to open a criminal investigation into the matter.

According to a report in Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the Equifax investigation, the Department of Justice is looking into whether executives at the credit scoring company violated insider trading laws by selling stock ahead of disclosing the data breach that may have impacted 143 million consumers in the U.S. The Atlanta office is reportedly looking into the share sales with help from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), reported Bloomberg.

The inquiry by the Department of Justice (DOJ) comes on the heels of lawmakers, attorneys general and regulators looking into the company and the breach, in which the bad guys had access to identifying personal information, including birth dates and Social Security numbers. The DOJ investigation is focused on Equifax’s Chief Financial Officer, John Gamble; its President of U.S. Information Solutions, Joseph Loughran and its President of Workforce Solutions, Rodolfo Ploder,  reported Bloomberg. The executives sold shares valued at close to $1.8 million in the early part of August. The company said it discovered the data breach on July 29. However, Equifax contends executives at the company weren’t aware of the hack.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is working with the FBI to conduct a criminal investigation into the Equifax breach and resulting theft of personal information,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn in a statement to Bloomberg.

The data breach at Equifax has gotten so bad that it has even prompted Democrats to introduce a bill to give consumers the ability to freeze their credit for free. According to news from Reuters, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she has begun an investigation into the hack, explaining in a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the agency she helped create after the 2007-2009 financial crisis, that it may require additional powers to ensure closer federal oversight of credit reporting agencies.

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