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Florida man settles SEC insider trading charges over Apple takeover

July 19 (Reuters) - A Florida man has agreed to pay $278,773 to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission insider trading charges stemming from Apple Inc's purchase of his employer, mobile security company AuthenTec Inc.

The SEC said John Stimpson bought AuthenTec call options, a bet that the stock price would rise, after learning nonpublic information in early July 2012 about a merger, including a special AuthenTec board meeting and unusual activity in AuthenTec's human resources department.

In an order dated Tuesday, the SEC said Stimpson sold his options within three months after Apple announced a $356 million takeover on July 27, 2012, which caused AuthenTec's share price to rise by roughly two-thirds.

Stimpson, 49, of Melbourne Beach, had been a senior network administrator in the information technology department of AuthenTec, his employer since November 2006, the SEC said.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Stimpson agreed to give up $135,570 of trading profit plus $7,633 of interest, and pay a $135,570 civil fine.

Stimpson's lawyer did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a request for comment. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)