U.S. District Judge hit the defendants with a series of fines after the three were charged with fraudulently trading.
U.S. District Judge hit the defendants with a series of fines after the three were charged with fraudulently trading.

Three Chinese hackers were ordered by a federal judge in Manhattan to pay a combined total of approximately $9 million in fines after hacking law firm email servers to steal corporate merger plans.

U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni Friday hit defendants Iat Hong, Bo Zheng, and Hung Chin with a series of fines after the three were charged with fraudulently trading on hacked nonpublic, market-moving information stolen from two prominent New York-based law firms in December 2016, according to court documents.

The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged the trio used the stolen confidential information contained in emails to make at least $3 million in profit by purchasing shares in at least three public companies ahead of public announcements of the companies entering into merger agreements. Authorities caught the trio using "enhanced trading surveillance and analysis capabilities" that the agency has been developing over the past few years.