Locals settle First Indiana insider-trading case

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The Securities and Exchange Commission said today that it has settled insider-trading charges against three local residents who bought shares in First Indiana Corp. immediately before the July 9, 2007, announcement that it was being acquired by a Milwaukee bank for a 42-percent premium.

The trio agreed to pay a total of $51,852 to settle the case. According to the SEC, all three bought First Indiana shares after a First Indiana board member complained to them about being inconvenienced by having to attend a special Sunday board meeting.

The board member is not identified in court papers. However, the description of the director matches only Indianapolis businessman Bill Mays, who served on First Indiana’s board from 2003 until the closing of the sale.

Furthermore, one of the settling parties is Mays’ daughter, Kristen, 33, who serves as assistant to the president of Mays Chemical, and another is Matthew B. Murphy III, 51, the company’s director of finance and administration. The other person settling is Nancy Jewell, 52, CEO of Indiana Minority Health Coalition.

Without admitting or denying allegations of wrongdoing, all three agreed to return the amount of their profits, plus pay an equal amount as a penalty. That totaled $15,920 for Mays, $18,156 for Murphy and $17,776 for Jewell.

Reached by IBJ this afternoon, Bill Mays acknowledged complaining about the meeting.

According to the SEC, “the director complained to each of the defendants that he was upset that a special First Indiana board meeting was taking place on Sunday and ruining his scheduled plans for the day.”

Kristen Mays, Murphy and Jewell “then each misappropriated that information,” the SEC alleges. Bill Mays found out about the meeting on a Friday, and the three executed trades later that day. First Indiana’s sale to Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. was announced before the markets opened the following Monday.

Bill Mays said that at one point the SEC’s inquiry had encompassed the trading by perhaps 100 people who collectively traded less than $1 million in First Indiana stock. He said he was puzzled that investigators took such interest in the case when there are multi-billion dollar frauds to unearth.

“The SEC ought to have better things to do,” he said.


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