Dighton police chief charged with insider trading resigns

DIGHTON – Town Police Chief Sean Cronin, who was charged in an insider trading scheme that prosecutors say garnered $72,000 for himself and millions of dollars in trading profits for numerous associates, will resign, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. 

Cronin is among five men charged in the insider trading scheme. Dighton Board of Selectmen Chairman Peter D. Caron said in a statement that Cronin will resign Saturday.

“On behalf of the community, the board would like to thank Chief Cronin for his dedicated service to the police department, the town and its residents,” Caron said. 

On June 29, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had accused Cronin and four other men of trading on nonpublic information in May 2020 that involved a bid by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boston, in its acquisition of Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Francisco. 

After Alexion announced the acquisition, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority launched an inquiry and asked Alexion if any employees had participated in well-timed trades of Portola stock, according to the federal indictment. 

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According to the SEC, Cronin received the confidential information from his childhood friend Joseph Dupont, 44, a vice president at Alexion who was part of the acquisition team.  

Dupont also served as a reserve officer on the Dighton police force where he had been supervised by Cronin. 

Immediately after being named Acting Chief, Nichols suspended Dupont, according to a news release posted by the Town of Dighton. 

The SEC said that after Cronin had been tipped off to the impending acquisition, he passed that information to Jarett Mendoza, 44, a sales rep for a medical equipment company. Cronin also alerted Slava “Stanley” Kaplan, 45, who provided advice to the chief on trading strategies. Kaplan, in turn, allegedly tipped off colleague Paul Feldman, 48. 

With their knowledge of the pending acquisition, Cronin, Mendoza, Kaplan and Feldman bought Portola stock and call options prior to the announcement, according to the SEC.  

Kaplan and Feldman allegedly passed the inside information on to other family members and friends, who more than doubled their money when Portola’s stock price soared. 

After netting their profits, Kaplan texted Feldman in Russian, “Let’s hope our golden goose will continue laying golden eggs!” 

Cronin, 43, was charged with three counts of securities fraud and three counts of tender offer fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of securities fraud under Title 18, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and tender offer fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

Cronin was released on $250,000 bond after an appearance in federal court in Boston. 

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.