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Crime & Courts

Conn. investment industry executive pays $1.4M to settle federal insider trading charges

An investment industry executive has paid $1.4 million to settle insider trading charges, federal regulators said Friday.

I. Joseph Massoud, who founded investment advisory firm Compass Group Management, gained access to nonpublic information at an Internet site where bidding companies could learn more about the financial condition of Patriot Capital Funding Group before its sale, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

For access to the data, Compass Group had to agree to keep information confidential, which prohibited employees from buying Patriot Capital stock. Massoud still purchased shares soon after Compass Group gained access to the confidential information and bought even more stock after he learned that Compass Group's bid was what he described as "waaaaay off" compared with bids from other companies, regulators said.

Patriot Capital's share price more than doubled after a merger was publicly announced, and Massoud, of Westport, Conn., realized more than $676,000 in illegal profits, the SEC said.

His lawyer, Robert J Anello, said in an email that Massoud is pleased to resolve "this personal trading matter."

John T. Dugan, associate director of the SEC's Boston regional office, said Massoud acted with full knowledge of the confidentiality agreement prohibiting him from buying Patriot Capital stock and "abused his access to nonpublic data for what turned out to be a short-term personal gain."

Massoud was required to pay back double what he made in the stock deal.

A judge must approve the agreement, which also prohibits Massoud from working in the securities industry or serving as an officer or director of a public company.

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