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Former Equifax Manager Sentenced for Insider Trading

Sudhakar Bonthu bought and sold Equifax stock options prior to the public disclosure of its 2017 data breach.

Former Equifax manager Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu has been sentenced to eight months of home confinement after pleading guilty to insider trading, the Department of Justice reports.

Bonthu was working as a software product development manager for Equifax's Global Consumer Services team in August 2017 when he was asked to help build data breach remediation applications for an unnamed company within a quick time frame. His primary job was to build an interface for victims to determine whether they'd been compromised.

The DoJ says Bonthu was not directly told Equifax was the victim; however, he was given information that led him to determine that himself. He knew 100 million people had been compromised, for example, and the exposed data included names and Social Security numbers.

On Sept. 1, Prior to Equifax's public disclosure of the breach on Sept. 7, Bonthu bought 86 "put" options in Equifax stock that would allow him to profit if stock dropped within the following two weeks. This purchase also went against corporate policy: Equifax employees were not permitted to buy option contracts in Equifax common stock, the DoJ points out.

Bonthu, who was charged with insider trading earlier this year, was sentenced to eight months of home confinement, must pay a $50,000 fine, and has been ordered to forfeit $75,979.

This is the latest sentencing of a former Equifax employee for activity in relation to the massive 2017 breach. Jun Ying, a former CIO within a US business unit of Equifax, was charged in March 2018 with insider trading ahead of the breach disclosure.

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