Former Heartland CEO Agrees To $250K SEC Fine

legal settlement

To settle charges of insider trading, the ex-chief executive of Heartland Payment Systems Inc. agreed to pay a civil fine of $250,628. With his agreement to the settlement, which was filed this week in Connecticut, Robert Carr didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that Carr had talked about merger discussions with his partner, Katherine Hanratty, and wrote a check to that individual. That way she was able to purchase $900,000 of stock in Heartland prior to the merger’s announcement. In April 2016, Hanratty sold her shares for a profit of $250,628.

U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill still needs to approve the settlement per the report. The judge will also make the determination as to whether Carr is banned from being a public company’s director or officer. (Carr is reportedly in his mid-70s.)

The newswire reported that a Carr lawyer didn’t reply to requests for comments immediately, and the SEC did not reply to a similar request immediately. It also reported that, last October, Hanratty agreed to pay $528,608 with the inclusion of a civil fine of $250,628 to settle charges related to the SEC.

In 2015, it was reported that Global Payments announced that it would buy Heartland Payments in a widely anticipated deal. Through a release in December of that year, the companies said the definitive merger agreement came with a price tag of $4.3 billion and would grow the U.S. operations of Global Payments across small and mid-sized enterprises, bolstering its vertical reach and client base.

At the time, it was also reported that Global Payments said it would combine Heartland’s solutions with its OpenEdge product, with an enhanced presence in the countries in which the company already did business at the time through cross-selling opportunities.

Carr founded Heartland as a small payments processing startup based in Princeton, New Jersey in 1997. By 2015, the company was generating $2.77 billion in annual revenue.