March 15, 2018

Following Calls From Senators Shaheen and Hassan to Investigate Equifax Stock Sales, SEC Charges Former Equifax Executive For Insider Trading

WASHINGTON – Following calls from Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) for a full investigation into the sale of nearly $2 million in Equifax securities by high-level Equifax executives shortly after the company learned of a massive cybersecurity breach, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged a former Equifax executive with committing securities fraud by engaging in insider trading and dumping his stock before the credit reporting agency went public with a massive data breach.

“I applaud the SEC for working to hold Equifax executives accountable for allegedly putting their own self-interest ahead of the American people,” Senator Hassan said. “It is critical that the SEC and DOJ continue to follow the facts wherever they may lead in order to hold all those responsible accountable and to help ensure that another data breach of this magnitude never happens again.”

“I appreciate the diligent work of the SEC, Department of Justice and FBI to ensure that those who failed, or refused, to respond to this historic data breach are held accountable,” said Senator Shaheen. “It is reprehensible that an Equifax executive put personal financial gain over the safety and security of millions of Americans who had their personal information compromised. As federal agencies continue their investigation, I’ll keep advocating for Congress to prioritize efforts that protect consumers and address cybersecurity threats so we can prevent this type of intrusion from happening again.”

Click here for the bipartisan letter Senators Shaheen and Hassan joined their colleagues in sending on September 12, 2017, asking the SEC, Department of Justice, and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the sale of nearly $2 million in Equifax securities held by high-level executives at the company shortly after the company learned of a massive cybersecurity breach.

Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency, recently disclosed that unauthorized parties had obtained sensitive information – such as Social Security numbers, addresses, and driver’s license numbers -- for as many as 145 million people.  The breach is believed to have occurred in May and was discovered internally by Equifax in late July.  Within days of Equifax’s internal discovery of the breach, three top level Equifax executives -- the Chief Financial Officer; the President of U.S. Information Solutions; and the President of Workforce Solutions -- sold large amounts of their shares of Equifax stock, though its customers and the public were not notified until September 7, 2017. Equifax has stated that the three executives were not notified of the breach when they sold shares and exercised options.