Ying’s stock sale came days before Equifax announced the breach in which hackers obtained access to the personal information of more than 145 million Americans.
The breach led to the ouster of former CEO Rick Smith and early retirement for several other top executives.
The breach led to outrage by many in Congress who grilled Smith on the company’s security failings and the response after the break was discovered. However, Congress has taken no action against the company for the breach or its handling.
After the company realized consumer data had been breached, there were several weeks of investigation before a public announcement.
According to Pak, Ying texted a colleague on Aug. 25, writing “Sounds bad. We may be the one breached.”
Days later, Ying searched on the web about Experian’s 2015 data breach and its effect on the credit bureau’s stock price, according to the indictment. The same day, prosecutors say Ying exercised his stock options for more than 6,800 shares.
Around that time, Equifax offered Ying the company’s top CIO job. That offer was rescinded after the company reviewed his stock trades. Ying resigned about a month after that.
Ying’s sale of stock brought him a profit of $480,000, according to Pak.
On Sept. 1, 2017, Equifax stock was trading at $141.59 a share. But several days later, the breach was revealed and the price of shares dropped dramatically. Since then, the shares recovered somewhat, then fell along with much of the market late last year.
On Thursday, Equifax stock closed at 108.71 a share.
Ying is the second Equifax employee to be found guilty of insider trading relating to the data breach. Last July, Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu, a former manager at Equifax, pleaded guilty to the charge, Pak said.
Sentencing for Ying, is scheduled for June 27.