Former Angels infielder and current Laguna Beach resident Doug DeCinces pleaded not guilty Monday morning to federal insider-trading charges.
DeCinces' bail was set at $5,000 at his initial court appearance.
He was ordered to return to court Feb. 25 for a pretrial hearing, with trial set for March 5.
DeCinces' attorney, Gordon Greenberg, declined to comment on the case.
"We expected to do all of our talking in the courtroom, not on the steps of the courthouse," Greenberg said after the hearing.
The retired DeCinces and three others were named in a 44-count indictment alleging the defendants used private information about a takeover bid to buy stock in an Orange County-based medical device company.
The company's stock was boosted significantly when the takeover bid was announced, according to Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The 60-year-old DeCinces, who also played third base for the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals in the 1970s and early 1980s, was named in the indictment along with:
- David Parker, 60, of Provo, Utah, a friend and business partner of DeCinces
- Fred Scott Jackson, 65, of Newport Beach, a real estate attorney and friend of DeCinces
- Roger Wittenbach, 69, of Lutherville-Timonium of Maryland, a friend of DeCinces
The allegations revolve around Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc., a medical device and eye-care company acquired by Abbott Laboratories in January 2009.
The takeover boosted stock from about $8 a share to $22, according to federal officials.
The indictment alleges that a company official, who was a "close personal friend" of DeCinces in the fall and early winter of 2008, learned of Abbott's plans.
That allegedly prompted DeCinces to scoop up Advanced Medical Optics' shares. DeCinces sold his other stocks, sustaining about $80,000 in losses, to buy about $160,000 in shares of the eye-care company, the indictment alleges.
After Abbott's tender offer was announced, DeCinces sold his shares for about $1.3 million, according to the indictment.
DeCinces is also accused of telling Parker, Jackson and Wittenbach about the takeover bid to make up for prior investment recommendations from DeCinces that had soured, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges Parker earned $347,920 in profits, Jackson received $140,259 and Wittenbach got $201,692.
DeCinces faces 42 counts of securities fraud—21 counts of insider trading and 21 counts of tender offer fraud—as well as one count of money laundering.
Parker and Jackson are charged with three counts each of insider trading and three counts of tender offer fraud. Parker also faces another count of money laundering. Wittenbach is charged with two counts of insider trading and two counts of tender offer fraud.
The other three defendants are expected to make their initial court appearances next Monday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. DeCinces was earlier sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in regard to the same issue, but he agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle that dispute.
—City News Service