By Dan Primack
August 5, 2011

It appears that Doug DeCinces can no longer play defense.

The SEC today charged former pro baseball player Doug DeCinces with insider trading, alleging that he and three associates pocketed more than $1.7 million from buying shares in a company that was about to announce an acquisition by Abbott Laboratories (ABT). Each member of the quartet has since settled, with DeCinces agreeing to repay $2.5 million.

According to the complaint filed in California federal district court, someone at optical device company Advanced Medical Optics tipped DeCinces off to the fact that the company was about to announce an agreement to be about by Abbott. The source also provided material, non-public information, and DeCinces spent three weeks buying up more than 83,000 shares. Some of the stock went into his own brokerage accounts, while some went into accounts of his grandchildren.

DeCinces also told three friends about the pending deal, including the CEO of a Maryland company that partners “with financial institutions and retail organizations to deliver state of the art cash handling and security solutions.” Each of them bought AMO shares of their own.

On January 12, 2009, Abbot announced the deal at a 143% premium to AMO’s closing price the prior day. DeCinces subsequently sold all of his shares, generating more than $1.2 million in profit.

DeCinces played 15 seasons as a major league shortstop, getting his start in 1973 with the Baltimore Orioles. He was traded in 1982 — seems the Orioles had another shortstop they wanted to use — after which he played for the California Angels (where he made the all-Star team) and St. Louis Cardinals. He also played for a short time in Japan before retiring.

What follows is a copy of the complaint:

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