Marengo County men accused of insider trading

Four Marengo County men have agreed to settle allegations of insider trading related to the 2016 merger between Golden Enterprises, Inc. and Utz Quality Foods, LLC, according to reports.

Documents filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 23 in U.S. District Court claim that James Wallace Nall III, son of longtime Golden Enterprises director James Nall, provided information regarding the Golden Flake potato chip company’s merger to his friend and business partner, Michael Hale Smith Jr., a resident of Thomaston. The complaint states that Smith passed that information along to his father, Michael Dwaine Smith Sr., and his boss, Walter Vice Tutt. Michael Smith Sr. then passed the information on to his other son, Robert Walter Smith.

All three Smiths and Tutt are accused of using the information to trade Golden Flake stock prior to the announcement of the merger between Golden Enterprises and Utz Quality Foods. Nall is not accused of trading on the information.

The SEC complaint states that the four men who traded upon receiving the information collectively received profits of approximately $437,000, having purchased over 78,000 shares of Golden between November 2015 and the merger announcement in July 2016.

According to a report published by Reuters, the four men will settle the SEC complaint, agreeing to pay about $936,000 in fines and interest. None have admitted to any wrongdoing.

Michael Hale Smith, 45, Michael Smith Sr., 69, and Robert Smith, 31, are all residents of Thomaston. Tutt, 54, owner of Tutt Land Company located in Thomaston, resides in Demopolis.

James Nall Sr. is not accused of any wrongdoing.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, October 2 issue of the Demopolis Times.)