The SEC charged a personal injury lawyer in California with insider trading, accusing Dean Goetz of stealing confidential information on Abbott’s (NYSE:ABT) $2.8 billion acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics from his daughter, who was a lawyer working for AMO at the time.
The agency accused Goetz of reaping an illegal $11,000 profit trading on AMO stock just before the deal went public in January 2009. Unbeknownst to Goetz’s daughter, working on the deal during the winter holidays at her parents’ house, Goetz allegedly stole the information he used to buy 900 shares of AMO stock on Jan. 8, 2009, according to the SEC.
“By trading on the material, nonpublic information he misappropriated, Goetz breached the duty of trust and confidence that he owed to his daughter,” according to a press release. “Goetz, a California resident and an attorney, knew that his daughter owed a duty of confidentiality to her employer and to her employer’s clients. Despite knowing that his daughter could not, and did not, share nonpublic information with him, Goetz misappropriated information about the impending merger and acquisition and used it for his own benefit.”
Goetz agreed to settle the case, without admitting guilt or denying the charges, by paying a $24,000 penalty — repaying the illicit gains, plus an equal amount in fines and about $900 in pre-judgment interest and inking a promise not to break SEC rules again.