Co-defendant settles in Heartland insider trading case

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A woman accused of insider trading with former Heartland Payment Systems CEO Robert Carr has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kathie Hanratty agreed to pay back more than $500,000, which includes a penalty of roughly $250,000, according to court papers filed this week in Connecticut.

The SEC filed its complaint against Hanratty and Carr in July. In late May, they also were sued by Heartland in New Jersey. The suit alleged Carr provided inside information — along with about $1 million — to Hanratty, characterized as his girlfriend, to buy Heartland stock before the December 2015 announcement that the company was to be acquired by Georgia-based Global Payments Inc.

Carr is alleged to have met with representatives from Global and learned the company planned to offer $97.50 per share for Heartland stock — a fact he allegedly passed on to Hanratty the same day. About a week later, the suit claims, he sent a check to Hanratty to purchase the stock. Rumors of Global’s offer surfaced about three weeks later, and shortly after that the companies announced the offer, according to the suit.

That information allegedly gave Hanratty’s investment a “25% gain,” according to the lawsuit.

At the time the Heartland lawsuit was filed, an attorney representing Carr said he received prior authorization from Heartland’s legal counsel for his stock transactions and that the lawsuit was “a smear campaign.” Messages left with his attorney weren’t immediately returned Thursday.

Carr founded Heartland in Princeton, New Jersey in the late 1990s and grew it into one of the country’s largest payment processing companies. Along the way, he formed a foundation that paid college tuition for hundreds of economically disadvantaged students. He also wrote a book about his journey from a working-class upbringing to millionaire entrepreneur. The company sold for roughly $4 billion in 2016.

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