| WASHINGTON, April 22
WASHINGTON, April 22 The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission said on Monday that it had fined Mark
Begelman, a former head of Office Depot, for insider
trading after he heard news of an imminent merger.
Begelman, who was president and chief operating officer of
the office supplies retailer in the early 1990s, agreed to pay
more than $30,000 to settle charges, the SEC said.
While at a retreat of business leaders in November 2011, the
SEC said, Begelman learned that BFC Financial Corp
was acquiring Bluegreen Corp.
"Begelman took advantage of confidential information he
learned from another WPO member and illegally traded ahead of
the merger announcement for nearly $15,000 in illicit profits,"
the SEC said in a statement.
WPO, or the World Presidents' Organization, is a
professional organization of current and former executives at
Begelman's source for the information was a high-ranking
official at both Bluegreen and BFC, the SEC said.
During the retreat, in the Florida Keys, Begelman emailed
his stockbroker, instructing him to buy 25,000 shares of
Bluegreen, the SEC said. The next day, they spoke by phone, and
Begelman bought the shares.
Bluegreen stock rose nearly 46 percent when BFC announced
the acquisition on Nov. 14, allowing Begelman to sell his
holdings for a $14,949 profit, the SEC said.
Begelman, who did not admit or deny the charges, also agreed
to be prohibited from serving as an officer and director of a
public company for a period of at least five years. The
settlement is subject to court approval.