April 26, 2019 / 2:02 PM / 23 days ago

Ex-Heartland CEO settles SEC insider trading charges he tipped partner about merger

(Reuters) - The former chief executive of Heartland Payment Systems Inc agreed to pay a $250,628 civil fine to settle U.S. insider trading charges that he tipped his longtime romantic partner about the payment processor’s $4.3 billion takeover by Global Payments Inc.

Robert Carr, who founded Heartland, did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which was filed this week with the federal court in New Haven, Connecticut.

The SEC accused Carr of repeatedly discussing merger talks with his partner Katherine Hanratty and writing a check so Hanratty, who had expressed worries about her finances, could buy $900,000 of Heartland stock before the merger was announced.

Hanratty sold her stock for a $250,628 profit in April 2016, four months after Atlanta-based Global Payments agreed to buy its smaller rival, the SEC said.

The settlement requires approval by U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill. He also will decide whether to ban Carr, who is in his mid-70s, from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

A lawyer for Carr did not immediately respond on Friday to requests for comment. The SEC did not immediately respond to a similar request.

Hanratty agreed last October to pay $528,608, including a $250,628 civil fine, to settle related SEC charges.

The case is SEC v Carr et al, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut, No. 18-01135.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Trott

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