Florida man settles SEC insider trading charges over Apple takeover

(Reuters) – A Florida man has agreed to pay $278,773 to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission insider trading charges stemming from Apple Inc’s <AAPL.O> purchase of his employer, mobile security company AuthenTec Inc.

The SEC said John Stimpson bought AuthenTec call options, a bet that the stock price would rise, after learning nonpublic information in early July 2012 about a merger, including a special AuthenTec board meeting and unusual activity in AuthenTec’s human resources department.

In an order dated Tuesday, the SEC said Stimpson sold his options within three months after Apple announced a $356 million takeover on July 27, 2012, which caused AuthenTec’s share price to rise by roughly two-thirds.

Stimpson, 49, of Melbourne Beach, had been a senior network administrator in the information technology department of AuthenTec, his employer since November 2006, the SEC said.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Stimpson agreed to give up $135,570 of trading profit plus $7,633 of interest, and pay a $135,570 civil fine.

Stimpson’s lawyer did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)