Right after Equifax discovered it had suffered a huge security breach, three senior executives dumped nearly $2 million in shares—and now the feds are looking to see if there was any criminality involved. Per Bloomberg, sources familiar with the investigation say the Justice Department will be seeking evidence on whether insider trading laws were broken, working with both the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission on the breach and theft of personal data and on the stock sales themselves, respectively. Since the intrusion was revealed publicly on Sept. 7, shares of the company's stock have fallen around 35%. At the center of the investigation, per the sources: CFO John Gamble; Joseph Loughran, the company's president of US information solutions; and Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions.
Although Equifax has insisted the execs "had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred" before they sold off their shares, per USA Today, Bloomberg notes that regulatory filings didn't suggest the sales were included in any prescheduled trading arrangements. To prove that insider trading took place, the onus will fall on prosecutors to show that the executives carried out the stock transactions based on info not made public that would have been likely to affect Equifax's stock price. Between the three executives, they continued to hold tens of thousands of shares even after their respective sales, which the company has told TechCrunch took place on Aug. 1 and Aug. 2; the breach was discovered July 29. On the Equifax website, the company says its own "internal investigation of this incident is still ongoing and the company continues to work closely with the FBI in its investigation." (Read more Equifax stories.)