Kaja Whitehouse, New York Post, December 27, 2016
Three Chinese nationals were charged with hacking into the private email accounts of major US law firms and helping themselves to juicy tips on upcoming mergers.
The trespassing trio then used the tips to trade stocks of the companies pegged for acquisition to earn a nifty — but very illegal — $4 million in profits in less than two years, it is alleged.
One of the three men — 26-year-old Iat Hong from Macau — was arrested on Christmas Day after he dared set foot in neighboring Hong Kong, which has an extradition treaty with the US.
The other two men — Bo Zheng, 30, of Changsha, China, and Chin Hung, 50, of Macau — remain at large.
All three were charged Tuesday in a 13-count federal criminal indictment and sued civilly by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The feds said the men learned about the still-confidential mergers by hacking into the computers of seven law firms.
The hacked law firms were not named, but firms involved in the deals cited by prosecutors include Cravath Swaine & Moore and Weil Gotshal & Manges, which the Wall Street Journal had reported were hacked earlier this year.
Hong was charged on nine counts, including conspiracy and securities fraud. He faces a maximum 110 years if convicted.