Equifax executives sold $2M of their company shares 37 days before informing public of data breach

Pay attention to the dates in this post.

Equifax is a consumer credit reporting firm, the oldest of the three largest U.S. credit agencies (the other two are Experian and TransUnion). Founded in 1899, Equifax gathers and maintains information on over 800 million consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide. Based in 1550 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax is a global service provider with $2.7 billion in annual revenue and more than 9,000 employees in 14 countries. Equifax is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

On Thursday, September 7, 2017, Equifax said that on July 29, i.e., 39 days ago, the company discovered that some time in May, someone(s) hacked into its online databases and stole the names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and driver’s license numbers of 143 million consumers in the United States.

The company admitted that 209,000 U.S. credit card numbers are also breached, as well as “certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.”

But Equifax has not told the public how the data breach happened.

The next day, Sept. 8, speaking to Jeffrey Meuler, an analyst at RW Baird & Co., Equifax blamed the hacking on a flaw in the STRUTS open-source software used to run its online databases.

STRUTS is a widely available software system, created by the Apache Foundation, which is used by about 65% of Fortune 100 companies — including Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, Reader’s Digest, Office Depot, and Showtime — and by the IRS.

STRUTS has been under attack by hackers since at least March, according to Ars Technica, which has reported on the software’s vulnerability. So Apache issued several patches or software fixes for its STRUTS system, but it’s unclear if the company had patched its systems since March. (New York Post)

Reporting for CNBC on Sept. 8, Todd Haselton and Yen Nee Lee discovered from filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that on August 1 and 2 — two days after the company had discovered the data breach, and 37 days before Equifax informed the public about the breach — three Equifax executives sold nearly $2 million in Equifax shares.

The three executives are:

  • Corporate vice president and chief financial officer John W. Gamble Jr. sold 6,500 shares at a price of $145.596, valued at $946,374, on August 1, 2017. (See the SEC’s Form 4, “Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership,” here.) In 2016, Gamble received $632K in salary, $759K in non-equity incentive plan compensation, $1.2M in stock awards, and $17K in all other compensation, totaling $2.7 million. He has an estimated net worth of $12.2 million. (Source: Bigwigs).
  • Workforce Solutions president Rodolfo O. Ploder sold 1,719 shares at a price of $145.70, valued at $250,458, on August 2, 2017. (See the SEC’s Form 4 here.) In 2016, Ploder received $500K in salary, $600K in non-equity incentive plan compensation, $785K in stock awards, and $105K in all other compensation, totaling $2 million. He has an estimated net worth of $19.8 million. (BigWigs).
  • Chief marketing officer and U.S. Information Solutions president Joseph Michael Loughran III sold 3,000 shares at a price of $33.60 (total value: $100,800) and 4,000 shares at a price of $146.0247 (total value: $584,099), on August 1, 2017. (See the SEC’s Form 4 here) He has an estimated net worth of $12.3 million. (BigWigs).

The total value of Equifax shares sold by Gamble, Ploder and Loughran 2 days after Equifax had discovered the data breach and 37 days before the company informed the public about the breach is $1.88 million.

In a statement, while admitting that the three executives had sold a “small percentage” of their shares, Equifax insists the executives “had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares.”

B.S.!

Update (Sept. 13):

Threatening to sell the personal data they hacked, the criminals are demanding $2.6 million in ransom from Equifax. (ZeroHedge)

Update (Sept. 18):

Justice Department today begins a criminal probe into the three Equifax executives’ stock sales. (ZeroHedge)

~Eowyn

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36 responses to “Equifax executives sold $2M of their company shares 37 days before informing public of data breach

  1. Seems to me people go to prison for this…why haven’t they?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Great!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Dr. E. – there’s another dirty secret that people need to know about and ACT on. The web site that Equifax has provided consumers to sign up for credit monitoring, trustedidpremier.com has included a statement in their fine print – WTTEO, using their monitoring service bars consumers from entering into any kind law suit claiming damages for the breach of their privacy.

    There have been calls for the firm to remove this condition, but in the meantime consumers can choose to opt-out of this clause. The whole situation stinks.

    Adding insult to injury, I have seen Equifax ads in the past couple days announcing a new service offering “Scan the dark web to see if your info is out there”. This firm should be prosecuted, and the entire credit reporting industry needs MUCH more stringent monitoring.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. I quit being incredulous when I found out there was no Santa Claus or an Easter Bunny. Imagine my horror when I found the tooth fairy was a smoke job as well. HA!

    Like

  5. Yes I’m sure it’s purely coincidental. These execs are the real victims here.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wouldn’t it seem like a Petition/Letter of Demand from an overwhelming majority of wronged Stockholders would be enough to override that clause in Court?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    If a company as important as this credit bureau was with the public’s private information and this happens, it only tells me one thing – these guys are liberal democrats and are deliberately hurting the American people. It could be they were paid for all of these names – that happens every day in the business world.

    The suspicious part is – they need to be investigated on the timeline of the sale of their stock – that is not a coincidence.

    Again, to be fair to the people – an investigation is needed. This is no small matter.

    kommonsentsjane

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Saints and lamia

    It’s all racketeering my friends, the “legal” way. They’re able to get away with it because they’re in on it. Just like the Clintons, it’s a big club and we’re not in it. Different rules apply to the sheeple. They’ve known about this for months. Is this the pretext before they swindle everyone?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Definitely looks like “Illegal Insider Trading.” Executive crooks at that level can also sell “short” while waiting for a massive price drop.. They can also use the Options Market buy “Sell Options to sell” – at the current price before the Bad News is made Public.. = Even conduct such crooked buisness with a third party shadow company to hide their direct involvement.. This Event needs an investigation from the SEC ..

    Liked by 4 people

  10. There is more shady information I want to share to the readers on here, it was reported on zerohedge that a person named “Zack Whittaker” uploaded a video on twitter where he entered “test” as the last name and “123456” for the last 6 in the social, and the Equifax’s hack checker page returned the message that his data has been breached:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-09/were-just-trying-feed-our-families-equifax-hackers-demand-26-million-ransom

    Second, there has been a class action lawsuit already filed, also reported on zerohedge:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-08/equifax-hit-70-billion-lawsuit-after-leaking-143-million-social-security-numbers

    My concern is, how were they able to file a lawsuit so quickly when this supposed equifax hack occurred? Second, I am not going to enter my data into the check website, because there could be something more nefarious going on. If our information was hacked, then equifax should send a letter to our homes to let us know instead of us having to enter our data into a website.

    Someone with technical knowledge would understand that if you were able to receive 6 of the 9 numbers, then the remaining 3 could be determined with “brute force” hacking techniques by trying only 94 different combinations to determine your full social security#, then a hacker would be able to access everyone’s accounts associated with your last name and social security and set off a massive systematic financial collapse.

    I personally believe that this event may light the fuse for a 2009 continuation long overdue. As the wikileaks vault 7 data dump revealed, most of the hacking tools that are out on the web came directly from the intelligence agencies.

    Stay vigilant and be prepared, because we are being setup for the biggest false flag we have ever seen.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Equifax Breach Response Turns Dumpster Fire — Krebs on Security

    https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/09/equifax-breach-response-turns-dumpster-fire/

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Criminal Penalties. The maximum prison sentence for an insider trading violation is now 20 years. The maximum criminal fine for individuals is now $5,000,000, and the maximum fine for non-natural persons (such as an entity whose securities are publicly traded) is now $25,000,000.
    http://www.sec.gov

    Liked by 3 people

  13. So typical of current corporate ethics.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Is it true the Equifax execs unloaded their interest in a certain bridge in Brooklyn then as well? Or did they in all good faith (cough, cough) have a psychic look into the stock price trajectory?

    Like

  15. UGH! I had my identity stolen after my hubbie and I tried to refinance recently…so, all our info was there on “Equifax” for the taking. We’ve had to re-establish bank accounts, debit cards….where we were drained of $10,000….it’s been like living as newlyweds all over again….just starting out…paycheck to paycheck…and we JUST this week found that our line of credit had been used AFTER all our money had been drained So, we are not “even” yet………again……new accounts….and….we have a bank that will evaluate, reimburse all our stolen fees if reported according to their criteria (which we did) and, if there is anything in question with the investigators, we also have LifeLock premium…..but, it’s been a HUGE PITA since July 3….and we are “just” coming out of it mid-Sept…..like I didn’t have anything ELSE to worry about…like my kid needing TWO hip replacements during which I had to care for the 2-yr-old grandbaby….potty train…all that…., while my other kid traveled in a professional capacity in Korea during this STUPID times with that area of the world……&, my aged, frail mother, just released from the hospital after 32 days……living through IRMA this week in a storm shelter for a direct hit in her Gulf-location, by this hurricane…going back to teach in a school that was storm-ravaged the week before classes convened—so, whereas my room ended up “OK”, practically no one else did, and we are teaching in a walled-off construction zone and I have NO AIR CONITIONING in our 110-degree days……..so…..maybe a plague of locusts next?

    My POINT is….I have my OWN deep-down-awful life-inspired problems WITHOUT my banking entity, Equifax, or whomever at all….bringing MORE down upon my head…….I THOUGHT that modern technology was there to help our lives become “easier.” BUT—-believe me….even my minor “fixing technology” problems within my classroom or my home iPad become epic, hours-long bullshit……I USED to be able to teach in my classroom without much interruption—–an attendance “collector” each period when we used to hang the attendance on the outside of the door……a phone call to the room once in a while…NOW, I have to teach with an iPad in my hand with communications sent via computer in a stream from the front office, or parents, even KIDS…and constant messages from the counselor’s offices, calls from the office to send this or that kid home….AS WELL AS processing all the “regular” potty passes, need a drink passes, lost my pencil/hat/backpack/phone/ sweatshirt/book/ yatta yatta……AND then…there is other classroom behavior management…AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, the LESSON for the day to be taught…..

    Liked by 1 person

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  27. Today, Sept. 18, the Justice Department begins a criminal probe into the three Equifax executives’ stock sales.

    Liked by 1 person

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