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U.S. Charges Hackers In $30 Million Insider-Trading Scheme


Regulators filed civil and criminal charges against individuals in a hacking network who traded nonpublic information. Authorities say the case illustrates the complexity and scope of what's possible with insider trading. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: The alleged scheme worked like this - two Ukrainian hackers operating in the U.S. tapped into services like Business Wire and PR Newswire, accessing press releases before they became public. Over five years, they transmitted the information to traders inside and outside the U.S. Paul Fishman is the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.


PAUL FISHMAN: Traders actually gave shopping lists of companies whose releases they expected soon and whose information they wanted. And in turn, the traders then sent a percentage of their profits to foreign bank accounts for the benefit of the hackers.

NOGUCHI: Affected companies include Caterpillar, Edwards Lifesciences and Verisign. The Justice Department estimated illegal profits totaled more than $30 million. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White says investigators were able to keep up with increasingly sophisticated attempts to evade detection.


MARY JO WHITE: We now have new technological tools and investigative approaches that allow us to not only pinpoint suspicious trading across multiple securities, but also to identify relationships among traders.

NOGUCHI: Hours before the press conference, law enforcement officials arrested some of the men involved. They also seized buildings, bank accounts and a houseboat. Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Yuki Noguchi is a correspondent on the Science Desk based out of NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. She started covering consumer health in the midst of the pandemic, reporting on everything from vaccination and racial inequities in access to health, to cancer care, obesity and mental health.