BOSTON -- A 56-year- old Lowell attorney and his golfing buddy are facing federal charges accused of using inside information about business activities of American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) to profit from trading AMSC stock.
Attorney Douglas Parigian, a 10-time city golf tournament champ, and champion golfer Eric McPhail, 41, of Waltham, were indicted Monday on federal charges of conspiracy and securities fraud.
Parigian, frequently seen in Lowell District Court trying cases, was also charged with making false statements to a federal agent in the course of the investigation.
On Friday, the Security and Exchange Commission charged seven men, including Parigian and McPhail, with violating anti-trust laws involving the same investigation.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, "Those who engage in insider trading are rigging the system and victimizing the law-abiding citizens who choose to invest our public companies. We will aggressively police the markets to deter this kind of behavior. I'm
Vincent Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division said, "For those that think they can get away with insider trading, they should know the government has a variety of safeguards in place to detect possible insider trading through the review of suspiciously timed trades. "
He added," Once someone gets on the radar screen, no matter how inside information is shared or acted on, whether person to person at a country club with golfing buddies, over the phone to trusted allies, or by oneself, the FBI has the tools to investigate and prove the criminal activity.
According to the indictment, starting in or about July 2009, McPhail began giving several of his friends, including Parigian, inside information about AMSC's business activities and upcoming earnings announcements. McPhail obtained this information during golf outings and other social activities with a close friend who was a senior executive at AMSC. The executive, however, trusted McPhail to keep the information to himself and was unaware that McPhail was using it to tip his friends.
Between July 2009 and April 2011, several of McPhail's friends, including Parigian, repeatedly traded on the inside information. Over that time, Parigian allegedly made over $300,000 in illicit gains. It is further alleged that during an interview with federal agents in May 2012, Parigian lied about his trading activities and his knowledge of others who traded in AMSC shares.
Others involved in the scheme are:
* Andy Drohen to return $22,543 in trading profits, $3,845 in interest and a civil penalty of $22,543, for a total of $48,931;
* John Drohen to return $8,972 in trading profits, $1,511 in interest and a civil penalty of $8,972, for a total of $19,455.
The SEC alleges that McPhail received the insider information from an executive at AMSC, formerly known as American Superconductor Corp., who belongs to the same golf club as McPhail and his close friend. The executive told McPhail about AMSC's expected earnings, contracts and other major pending corporate developments between July 2009 through April 2011, trusting that McPhail would keep the information confidential, according to the SEC. McPhail, however, allegedly channeled the information to his friends often via email.
Meadows was McPhail's longtime friend, according to the SEC. The others charged are McPhail's fellow competitive amateur golfers. Every one of these friends profited from trading on the inside information that McPhail provided them, the SEC said.
In 2011, AMSC was going through tough times after a major customer, Sinovel Wind Group Co., a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer, stopped accepting contracted products. According to the SEC, just a few days before the company lowered its forecast for fourth-quarter and fiscal year-end results, McPhail tipped Parigian and Meadows about it.
Parigian and Meadows allegedly used the information to place bets, through option contracts, that the company's stock price would decline," according to the SEC. "When American Superconductor made the announcement, its stock price fell 42 percent and as a result of this one tip alone, Parigian made profits and avoided losses of $278,289, while Meadows made profits of $191,521."
McPhail also allegedly channeled insider information to the various accused on other occasions. He tipped them in the fall of 2009 about a contract worth $100 million, and in November 2010 about an anticipated price drop for AMSC's shares a few days prior to the company announcements of a secondary stock offering, the SEC alleges.