President Emeritus Jim Doti testified Feb. 7 in defense of Chapman Board of Trustees Vice Chair and donor Jim Mazzo, who is on trial for insider trading charges.
Mazzo was tried last spring for 13 counts of insider trading charges, but a hung jury resulted in a mistrial in May. The jury had voted 8-4 in favor of Mazzo’s guilt, but could not deliver a unanimous verdict.
In the new trial, prosecutors added four counts of lying in court charges, according to court documents. The charges pertain to Mazzo denying in the first trial that he provided former Angels player Doug DeCinces with insider information about his company.
DeCinces was convicted of felony insider trading charges in last year’s trial and testified in January that he received insider information from Mazzo, according to the Orange County Register, which caused DeCinces to profit by more than $1 million.
Mazzo’s attorneys tried to dismiss the new charges against him Jan. 11, citing a court restriction of references to the previous trial. The documents say that this violation “prejudices” Mazzo. But according to court documents dated Feb. 8, those counts are still included in the charges against him.
Insider trading is the illegal use of information that is available only to insiders of a company, shared with outside investors in order to make a profit in financial trading.
“(Mazzo handled confidential information) with integrity,” Doti said during his testimony Feb. 7. “Money does not buy my opinion.”
Mazzo, who has donated $500,000 to Chapman, was unanimously selected as vice chair in 2016, and everyone on the board was aware of the allegations against him at that time, Doti said in his Feb. 7 testimony. When Doti testified in Mazzo’s defense the first time last spring, he said that he was not sure if Mazzo would be removed from the board if convicted.
University President Daniele Struppa confirmed to The Panther in January that Mazzo is still serving as a vice chair.
Mazzo was the CEO of Advanced Medical Optics Inc., a Santa Ana-based vision care company, from 2002 to 2009, according to an FBI press release from 2014.
He is accused of providing information to DeCinces, a close friend at the time, about the rising stock prices of his company before an acquisition by a larger medical company. This caused DeCinces to profit by $1.3 million, said prosecuting attorney Jennifer Waier during the 2017 trial.
DeCinces was convicted of 14 counts of felony insider trading charges in last year’s trial, and each count carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, according to the Orange County Register.
DeCinces testified against Mazzo Jan. 16 and 17 and said that Mazzo informed him of an Advanced Medical Optics merger talks with Abbott, a global healthcare company, before the deal was publicized, according to the Orange County Register.
Both Doti and Struppa know Mazzo personally, and Doti was a shareholder in Mazzo’s company. Doti’s testimony asserts that he never received nonpublic information about the company from Mazzo.
“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.”
During the testimony Feb. 7, a prosecutor asked Doti if there were any convicted felons serving on Chapman’s board. Doti said no.
Mazzo is being tried at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Santa Ana.