Three former Consol Energy executives made insider trades in the days prior to a public announcement of a multibillion-dollar acquisition that depressed the company's stock price, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Friday in a civil complaint.
All three have already settled the cases against them, the SEC said in a news release, and their consent decrees await court approval.
The SEC sued former director of corporate strategy Charles E. Mazur Jr., former general manager of engineering James S. Poland and former director of public relations Joseph A. Cerenzia. The complaint accuses all three of making trades based on their privileged knowledge of the March 15, 2010, announcement that Consol would buy Appalachian Exploration and Production from Dominion Resources for $3.74 billion. It said that violated the Securities Act and the Exchange Act.
According to the SEC's complaint, Mr. Mazur, 42, of Eighty-Four, managed to make $47,355 by purchasing put option contracts on Consol stock. Those contracts gave him the right to sell Consol stock for $55 within a specified period of time. That allowed him to profit when the stock price fell, after the announcement of the acquisition, from $54.33 to $48.85, it said.
He agreed to pay $97,171 in penalties and interest, the SEC said in the news release.
Mr. Poland, 52, of Washington, sold 2,000 shares of Consol stock before the announcement and managed to avoid losses of $9,552, according to the complaint. He would pay $19,600 if his consent decree is approved.
Mr. Cerenzia, 57, of Canonsburg, sold 1,283 shares, and avoided losses of $7,518, according to the complaint. He would pay $15,454.
"Joe did nothing intentional here," said Paul Tershel, who is Mr. Cerenzia's attorney. "He sold a very, very small percentage of his stock during that window [before the acquisition], and that put him in a bad spot with these folks."
All three were fired from Consol in November 2010 after the company learned of the trades, which violated its policies against insider trading, according to the complaint.
Mr. Mazur and Mr. Poland could not be reached immediately for comment. A Consol spokeswoman did not comment.region - businessnews
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542. First Published June 2, 2012 12:00 AM