Gerald C. Hellberg, Salt Lake City, has been found liable by a U.S. District Court jury for insider trading and fraud in connection with a tender offer by American Stores Co. for Lucky Stores Inc.

A civil complaint filed May 31, 1988, charged that Hellberg and his son, David Hellberg, violated two sections of the Securities Exchange Act when the father bought $15,000 worth of Lucky Stores options on March 16, 17 and 18, 1988.The father realized a $328,000 profit on the options after American Stores announced March 22, 1988, it was making a tender offer for Lucky Stores. The younger Hellberg was a financial analyst for American Stores who knew of the planned offer before his father bought the options, Securities and Exchange Commission officials said.

Both men denied that David provided his father any information about the offer with the father claiming that he made the purchase following research of his own. No witness testified that Gerald Hellberg knew about the planned offer, but SEC staff members urged the jury to find Gerald liable based on circumstantial evidence.

Last January, David consented to entry of an injunction against him and an order that he pay a civil penalty without either admitting or denying liability, and wasn't a defendant in the three-day trial.