A former IT worker at Expedia pleaded guilty Monday to securities fraud after authorities said he used his access to the computers of top executives to rummage through their email, then made lucrative, illegal stock trades based on the inside information he discovered. Prosecutors said Jonathan Ly, 28, made more than $330,000 from trades done with the information from 2013 to 2015. "I deeply regret what happened in the last couple of years," Ly, choking up, told the AP after the hearing. "It was a huge mistake on my part." Ly pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in US District Court in Seattle and is expected to face a potential sentence of about two years.
Ly was was based in the San Francisco office of one of Expedia's brands, Hotwire.com. Prosecutors said he was given the passwords and network credentials of company employees so he could remotely access their computers to address technology issues. Among those whose electronic files he read were Expedia's chief financial officer and head of investor relations. Many of the illegal trades he made were in anticipation of quarterly earnings reports which had not yet been made public. Even after leaving Expedia for another job in April 2015, Ly kept an Expedia laptop and continued using it to remotely access executives' accounts. (Read more Expedia stories.)