Former Oriole convicted of insider trading

Posted at 6:26 AM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 06:54:56-04

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- Former baseball star Doug DeCinces was convicted Friday of insider trading for a stock buy that earned him more than $1 million.

The former Baltimore Orioles and California Angels third baseman was convicted of 13 federal charges and could face decades in prison.

DeCinces was tipped off in 2009 that a Santa Ana-based medical device firm, Advanced Medical Optics, was going to be sold. The information came from the company CEO, James Mazzo, who was DeCinces' neighbor in Laguna Beach, California, prosecutors argued.

DeCinces bought more than 90,000 shares in the company days before Abbott Laboratories bought the firm, and he sold the shares for a profit of about $1.3 million, prosecutors said.

Fourteen other people made another $1.3 million after DeCinces passed on the tip to friends and family members, prosecutors alleged.

One friend, David Parker, was convicted of three counts of tender-offer fraud on Friday. But the jury deadlocked in Mazzo's case, and a mistrial was declared.

DeCinces, 66, and Parker will remain free until they are sentenced. A hearing date was not immediately set.

At the time of the merger, Advanced Medical Optics had seen its stock price plunge from more than $30 per share to under $10 in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street crash. It more than doubled after the merger was announced.

"Even though everyone else was losing, they won," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer L. Waier said in closing arguments on Tuesday. "They won big. They won because they knew tomorrow's news today."

DeCinces even called his broker while his father lay dying in the hospital, prosecutors said.

The defense denied the allegations and accused the government of conducting a biased and shoddy investigation.

Prosecutors offered more than two dozen witnesses during the two-month trial, but defense lawyers argued none of them directly implicated DeCinces or his co-defendants.

DeCinces earlier faced civil charges of insider trading. He settled that case in 2011 by agreeing to pay $2.5 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

DeCinces spent 15 years in the major leagues, recording 1,505 hits and 237 home runs. He played for the Orioles from 1973 to 1982, when he was traded to the Angels. He was on the American League All-Star team in 1983.

The Angels released DeCinces in 1987, and he played four games for the St. Louis Cardinals that season. The next year he played for Tokyo's Yakult Swallows in Japan. But he didn't finish the season because of back problems and then retired.