Orange County Business Journal

Mazzo Formally Denies SEC Charges, Asks for Jury Trial

Vita Reed Thursday, November 29, 2012

James V. Mazzo, who is retiring as president of Abbott Medical Optics Inc. at the end of the year, has formally denied insider trading charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission and asked for a jury trial in a court filing.

The SEC alleges that Mazzo is a source of illegal tips regarding the $2.8 billion sale of Santa Ana eye device maker Advanced Medical Optics Inc. to Abbott Laboratories in suburban Chicago in 2009.

Mazzo denied the allegations and requested the jury trial in a 26-page answer to the SEC’s civil complaint.

The veteran medical device executive also asked the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to “dismiss the complaint with prejudice,” enter a judgment in favor of him and an order that the SEC “shall recover nothing” and award him attorneys’ fees.

Mazzo does not face criminal charges in the case.

Former California Angels player and local real estate developer Doug DeCinces, a neighbor of Mazzo’s in Laguna Beach, was indicted yesterday on charges stemming from the insider trading accusations. DeCinces faces 42 counts of securities fraud in addition to one count of money laundering. Three others were indicted with DeCinces.

Federal prosecutors allege that DeCinces learned from a friend that Abbott Laboratories would pay between $21 and $23 a share for Advanced Medical’s stock, which was trading for about $8 a share at the time.

DeCinces then bought Advanced Medical shares based on the information, according to prosecutors, who also said he passed on the tip to three friends.