A former Expedia Inc 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.
Jonathan Ly, 28, entered his plea in federal court in
Seattle to one count of securities fraud stemming from an
insider trading scheme that prosecutors said netted the San
Francisco resident $331,000.
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.
"Mr. Ly is deeply sorry for the activity he engaged in and
the people and corporation he has impacted," John Runfola, his
lawyer, said in a statement.
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
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
Prosecutors said Expedia ultimately discovered the computer
intrusion and reported it to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Expedia in a statement confirmed it worked
closely with law enforcement in the probe.
"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.
The case is U.S. v. Ly, U.S. District Court, Western
District of Washington, No. 16-cr-00316.