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Media report: Feds investigating top Equifax executives’ stock trading

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.

Bloomberg reported that the federal agency probe is focused on its chief financial officer and 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 public.

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

But the company told its investors that it had “promptly” informed its board of directors of the incident.

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.

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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 for 143 million people.

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.

Equifax’s Atlanta headquarters. Photo: Equifax (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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