The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday charged a New York attorney with having earned $34,000 by trading securities using insider information related to his investments and consulting role in a Richmond-based manufacturer of cookware and small appliances..
The SEC said it filed suit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York against Henry A. Singer, 52, a mergers and acquisitions specialist with the Manhattan law firm Morrison Cohen Singer & Weinstein.
The agency alleged that Singer used inside information he gathered while doing consulting work for the management of WearEver-Proctor Silex Inc. on a proposed leveraged buyout of the firm in 1987.
In a statement issued on Singer's behalf, his law firm denied any wrongdoing. "We are convinced, without any doubt whatsoever, that Mr. Singer did not violate, either intentionally or inadvertently, any SEC rules or regulations," the statement said.
A spokesman at the law firm said the $34,000 profit figure used by the SEC was incorrect. "The trades occurred almost three years ago and yielded a $28,000 profit," the statement said.
The SEC complaint said Singer, a resident of Harrison, N.Y., served as attorney and confidant for Lawrence A. McLernon of Dublin, Ohio, who was an outside director for WearEver and a member of a special committee that considered the fairness of buyout proposals made to the company.
The SEC alleged that McLernon in July 1987 passed confidential information on bids for the company to Singer, who used the knowledge in August to buy 5,000 shares of WearEver stock for $13.25 a share. In April 1988, the company's shareholders accepted a $17.50 a share buyout offer, and Singer sold his shares at that price, the SEC charged.
Singer will fight the charges rather than accept "the SEC's arbitrary determination," according to the statement from his law firm.