Senators Susan Collins and Angus King joined a bipartisan group of 36 U.S. Senators in asking the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the sale of nearly $2 million in Equifax securities held by high-level Equifax executives shortly after the company learned of a massive cybersecurity breach.
Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency, recently disclosed that unauthorized parties had obtained sensitive information – such as Social Security numbers, addresses, and driver’s license numbers -- for as many as 143 million people. Approximately 524,517 Mainers are affected.
The breach is believed to have occurred in May and was discovered internally by Equifax in late July.
Within days of Equifax’s internal discovery of the breach, three top level Equifax executives -- the Chief Financial Officer; the President of U.S. Information Solutions; and the President of Workforce Solutions -- sold large amounts of their shares of Equifax stock, though its customers and the public were not notified until September 7.
Equifax has stated that the three executives were not notified of the breach when they sold shares and exercised options.
In their letter, the Senators express concern about potential insider trading violations: “As part of your investigations, we request that you conduct a thorough examination of any unusual trading, including any atypical options trading, for violations of insider trading law. To the extent that your investigations uncover any information regarding whether Equifax management employed reasonable measures to ensure the security of the now compromised data prior to this cyber breach, we would appreciate your sharing these details.”
The 36 Senators also write: “We request that you spare no effort in your investigations and in enforcing the law to the fullest extent against anyone who is found to be at fault.”