LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Former Baltimore Orioles all-star Doug DeCinces and three others were indicted Wednesday on insider trading charges involving the use of information prior to the takeover of a medical device company in California, authorities said.
In 2008, DeCinces was told by a close friend and official at Advanced Medical Optics Inc. that Abbott Laboratories planned to pay US$21 to $23 a share for the company’s stock, prosecutors said. At the time, Advanced Medical Optics was trading for about $8 a share.
DeCinces began buying Advance Medical stock based on that information and passed along the takeover details to three friends because he wanted to make up for previous investment recommendations that had gone bad, prosecutors said.
When Abbott’s offer was made public, DeCinces sold his newly purchased shares and profited about $1.3 million, court documents show. Abbott acquired Advanced Medical Optics in January 2009.
DeCinces’ three friends each bought and sold Advanced Medical stock and made anywhere from $140,000 to nearly $350,000, authorities said.
Also indicted on insider trading charges were David Parker, 60, of Provo, Utah; Fred Scott Jackson, 65, of Newport Beach, and Roger Wittenbach, 69, of Lutherville-Timonium in Maryland.
DeCinces, 62, was charged with 42 counts of securities fraud and one count of money laundering. Each of the fraud counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. DeCinces is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 17.
“To put it mildly, we do not agree with the decision to bring a criminal case against Doug DeCinces,” said Gordon Greenberg, DeCinces’ lawyer. “But the proper place to have this resolved is in the courtroom and not on the courthouse steps.”
Messages left for the other defendants’ lawyers were not immediately returned.
The Securities and Exchange Commission previously filed a civil lawsuit against DeCinces that was settled last year when the former major leaguer agreed to pay $2.5 million. In the lawsuit, federal authorities named James Mazzo, Advanced Medical’s former CEO, as the person who told DeCinces about the pending deal.
Mazzo is a senior vice-president at Abbott and is not facing criminal charges. In August, in response to the SEC lawsuit, Mazzo’s lawyer said his client would be fully exonerated after a review of the evidence.
Also caught up in the insider trading case was Hall of Famer and DeCinces’ former teammate Eddie Murray, who agreed in August to pay nearly $360,000 to settle federal civil charges. Federal investigators said DeCinces told Murray about the impending takeover. Murray neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
DeCinces was a third baseman during 15 seasons with the Orioles, California Angels and St. Louis Cardinals. He currently is president and CEO of a real estate development firm in Orange County.