Board vice chair to be retried for insider trading charges

Jim Mazzo, vice chair of the Board of Trustees

Four months after a mistrial was declared in a lawsuit that accused a Chapman Board of Trustees member of insider trading charges, the case is being brought back to court – this time with an additional charge.

Chapman Board of Trustees Vice Chair and donor Jim Mazzo will be retried in January after one charge of lying in court was added to eight counts of insider trading charges, according to documents provided to The Panther by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. Mazzo had already been tried for 13 counts of insider trading charges in spring 2017, but a judge declared a mistrial in May after a jury couldn’t provide a unanimous verdict.

Prosecutors added the charge of lying in court to Mazzo’s existing charges in an indictment filed Sept. 6, which also reduced his insider trading charges to eight.

Insider trading is the illegal use of information that is available only to insiders in a company, shared with outside investors in order to make a profit in financial trading.

President Emeritus Jim Doti testified in Mazzo’s defense during the trial in April, and said that he was unsure if Mazzo would remain on the Board of Trustees if convicted.

“There is one more thing I know that I am certain of: Jim Mazzo is not guilty of insider trading,” Doti told The Panther in April. “That is something he would never do.”

Doti declined to comment on the retrial and new charge, citing the fact that he may be testifying in Mazzo’s defense during the upcoming trial.

As of Sept. 1, Mazzo is still a vice chair on the Board of Trustees, according to the Chapman website.

After deliberating for a week and a half last spring, the jury was split 8-4, with the majority of jurors in favor of convicting Mazzo. The new jury will need to provide a unanimous verdict in order for Mazzo to be convicted.

The new indictment also asserts that Mazzo knowingly gave a false testimony on multiple occasions in late April when asked questions about providing nonpublic information about his medical device company to a friend, former Angels player Doug DeCinces. The prosecution claims that this led to DeCinces purchasing stock in the company on multiple occasions. DeCinces made more than $1 million by reselling the shares, assistant U.S. attorney Jennifer Waier said during closing arguments May 2.

If convicted, Mazzo could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million for this type of insider trading, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mazzo and his wife have donated about $1 million to the university, according to documents provided to The Panther in April. He has been on the Chapman Board of Trustees since 2006 and a vice chair since 2016, which was two years after he was first indicted for insider trading charges by the FBI.

President Daniele Struppa wrote in an email to The Panther that he was not aware of the retrial.

“The only thing I can say is that trustee Mazzo has been a very strong supporter of our university,” Struppa said. “I also know trustee Mazzo on a personal basis, and I know he is a first-rate family man, a wonderful father and husband.”

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