U.S. authorities charge several people in SEC hacking scheme

Jan 15 (Reuters) - U.S. authorities on Tuesday charged several individuals and companies in a scheme to trade on information in nonpublic corporate press releases by hacking into a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission database.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, the SEC said individuals in the United States, Russia and Ukraine reaped more than $4.1 million in illegal gains by trading on nonpublic filings from its Edgar database, including approximately 157 corporate earnings announcements.

According to the SEC, some of the defendants kicked back some of their trading profits to Oleksandr Ieremenko, a Ukrainian hacker who along with others infiltrated Edgar between May 2016 and October 2016 to obtain thousands of "test filings," including some containing earnings results.

Ieremenko was charged in 2015 in a similar scheme involving hacking into databases of corporate press release distributors.

It was not immediately clear whether the latest scheme is the subject of a law enforcement action being announced later Tuesday by the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice. Neither agency immediately responded to requests for comment. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)