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Former Energy Executive to Pay $170,000 in SEC Insider Claims

A former American Superconductor Corp. executive agreed to pay more than $170,000 to settle U.S. claims that he reaped trading profits using insider information about sales to the company’s largest customer.

Joseph M. Tocci, 59, purchased 100 put option contracts on April 1, 2011 after learning Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. had refused to accept delivery of shipments from American Superconductor and hadn’t paid for earlier deliveries, the Securities and Exchange Commission said today in a statement. Shares of Devens, Mass.-based American Superconductor fell 42 percent on April 6, 2011, a day after the company announced its problems with China-based Sinovel.

Tocci’s bet earned him ill-gotten gains of $82,439, according to the SEC. Under the agreement, Tocci will disgorge that income and pay prejudgment interest of $6,109 and a civil penalty of $82,439. Tocci agreed to plead guilty in a parallel criminal case brought by federal prosecutors in Massachusetts, according to the SEC.

Tocci formerly worked as an assistant treasurer for American Superconductor, which provides hardware and software to the wind-power industry. Sales to Sinovel accounted for 67 to 70 percent of American Superconductor’s sales from 2008 through 2010, the SEC said.

A phone call seeking comment from Tocci’s lawyer, Ian D. Roffman at Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP in Boston, wasn’t immediately returned.

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