Eddie Murray Settles SEC Case For $358,151

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eddie murray insider tradingWASHINGTON– Eddie Murray made big money in baseball with his powerful swing from both sides of the plate.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, he had some illicit help after leaving the game.

The Hall of Fame slugger has agreed to pay $358,151 to settle federal civil charges of profiting in stock trades by using confidential information passed to him by a former teammate.

The SEC on Friday also announced related charges against James Mazzo, former CEO of Advanced Medical Optics, and businessman David Parker. The SEC said Mazzo provided illegal tips about a planned acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics by Abbott Laboratories in January 2009.

Mazzo passed the information to Murray’s former teammate, Doug DeCinces, who tipped off Murray and Parker, the SEC alleges in a civil lawsuit. DeCinces settled the SEC’s charges a year ago by agreeing to pay $2.5 million.

Murray, who retired in 1997 with more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing but agreed to refrain from future violations of securities laws.

The SEC is still pursuing its cases against Mazzo and Parker.

Mazzo is now president of Abbott Medical Optics Inc. Through his attorney, Mazzo said he “flatly and unequivocally denies the SEC’s allegations.”

The attorney, Richard Marmaro, said in a statement: “We are confident that an independent, objective fact-finder will fully exonerate Mr. Mazzo after a fair evaluation of all of the evidence.”

Murray’s lawyer, Michael Proctor, noted that his client didn’t admit wrongdoing in the settlement. Murray “has settled this to put the case to an end and get on with his life,” Proctor said.

An attorney for Parker declined to comment.

The amount Murray is paying consists of:

- $117,657 as a civil penalty.

- $235,314 in restitution – the sum of his alleged illegal profits.

- $5,180 in interest.

Murray, 56, who lives in Santa Clarita, Calif., was a switch-hitting first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles from 1977-88. After DeCinces left the Orioles, he and Murray maintained a close friendship, according to the SEC.

The agency said that Mazzo, 55, and DeCinces also were close friends and lived in the same exclusive community in Laguna Beach, Calif.

“It is truly disappointing when role models, particularly those who have achieved so much in their professional careers, give in to the temptation of easy money,” Daniel Hawke, chief of the SEC enforcement division’s market abuse unit, said in a statement.

The SEC said that weeks before an announcement of Abbott’s acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics, Mazzo told DeCinces about the deal. As CEO of Advanced Medical Optics, Mazzo knew about it. DeCinces then bought 90,700 shares of AMO through several brokerage accounts, according to the SEC.

DeCinces, in turn, passed the information to at least five people, including Parker and Murray, the SEC says, and they all bought AMO stock.

The merger agreement was announced on Jan. 12, 2009. Abbott agreed to pay $22 a share for AMO. That day, the stock closed at $21.50 a share – a 143 percent jump from $8.85 a share the day before.

DeCinces sold his shares for a profit of about $1.38 million, the SEC said. And it said the five people DeCinces tipped off made a total of $2.4 million in alleged illegal profits.

The Orioles declined to comment Friday.

Though salaries for top players during his day were not what they are now, Murray signed several free-agent contracts in the 1990s and made tens of millions in the game. He protected his privacy and had a reputation for being surly with reporters, but Murray was an unquestioned clubhouse leader who was respected by teammates and opponents alike.

A durable star nicknamed “Steady Eddie,” he also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians and Anaheim Angels in a 21-year major league career. Murray finished with 504 homers and 3,255 hits, making him one of only four players to reach both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits.

Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Rafael Palmeiro are the others.

Murray, an eight-time All-Star and the 1977 AL Rookie of the Year, played in two World Series with Baltimore and one with Cleveland. He helped the Orioles win a championship in 1983 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try 20 years later.

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