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Ex-Expedia IT Employee Pleads Guilty To Insider Trading

December 5, 2016, 11:35 PM UTC

A former Expedia computer support technician pleaded guilty on Monday to having secretly accessed senior executives’ emails in order to engage in insider trading based on confidential information he stole.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 28. As part of a plea deal, Ly agreed to repay Expedia the $81,592 it spent investigating the computer intrusion. He also reached a $375,907 settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A lawyer Ly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to court papers, in 2013, Ly began exploiting his administrative access privileges to secretly review the contents of devices belonging to executives including Expedia’s chief financial officer and head of investor relations.

Prosecutors said that using the non-public information he obtained, Ly executed a series of well-times trades in Expedia stock options.

Even after he left the company in 2015, prosecutors said, Ly kept a company laptop and continued accessing the electronic devices and email accounts of Expedia executives.

“The irony of our increasingly digital world is that the greatest threat to our networks is a human one,” U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes said in a statement. “In this case, an IT professional used his employer’s networks to facilitate a get-rich-quick scheme.”

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“Expedia has been and remains committed to a rigorous and continual improvement cycle for all elements of its security posture,” the company said in a statement.