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Executive agrees to settle insider trading charges

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that a former Office Depot Inc. executive has agreed to pay more than $30,000 to settle insider trading charges.

According to the SEC, Mark Begelman bought stock in Bluegreen Corp. shortly before BFC Financial Corp. announced that it was buying the company, resulting in nearly $15,000 in ill-gotten gains.

Begelman was a member of the World Presidents' Organization, which is a professional group of current and former business executives. He joined the group in 1991 when he was president and chief operating officer at Office Depot Inc. and later served as an officer at BankAtlantic Bancorp and as vice chairman of the board at Canyon Creek Food Co., the SEC said.

At a November 2011 retreat in the Florida Keys, Begelman learned of the upcoming deal from another organization member who was a top executive at both Bluegreen and BFC. He subsequently instructed his broker to buy 25,000 shares of Bluegreen, the SEC said.

After BFC announced the deal later that month, Bluegreen's share price rose nearly 46 percent and Begelman sold all of his Bluegreen shares at higher prices for total profits of just under $15,000, the SEC said.

Begelman, who lives in Delray Beach, Fla., did not admit or deny the charges, but agreed to forfeit the profits and pay prejudgment interest of $377.22 and a penalty of just under $15,000. He also agreed to be barred from serving as an officer and director of a public company for at least five years, the SEC said.

The deal remains subject to court approval.