Psychiatrist Settles Trading Charges
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Maryland psychiatrist on Wednesday agreed to pay $87,558 to settle federal regulators’ allegations he used information from a patient on an upcoming corporate acquisition to engage in insider stock trading.
The Securities and Exchange Commission had sued Dr. Alan Brody in federal court, alleging that he improperly used information from a patient who was a company official to benefit from stock trades.
In agreeing to the settlement with the SEC, Dr. Brody of Potomac, Md. neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing. Of the $87,558.06 he agreed to pay, $38,000 was a civil fine, an additional $38,000 was restitution of his allegedly illegal trading profits and the remainder was interest. Dr. Brody, 47, also agreed to refrain from future violations of securities laws.
``Dr. Brody neither admits nor denies the allegations of the complaint,″ his attorney, Jake Stein, said in a statement. He declined further comment.
It wasn’t the first time the market watchdog agency has sued a psychiatrist for alleged insider trading, but such cases are rare. The SEC brought similar cases against psychiatrists and psychotherapists in 1986, 1991 and 1995. The most high-profile case, in 1986, involved the psychiatrist of the wife of Sanford Weill, a prominent Wall Street figure who at the time headed the big brokerage firm Shearson Lehman Brothers.
In Dr. Brody’s case, the SEC alleged that he received the inside information during an appointment on June 11, 1996 with a patient who was an official of Penril DataComm Networks Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., which was about to spin off a division to its shareholders and sell the rest of its business to Bay Networks Inc., then based in Santa Clara, Calif., in a $120 million stock deal.
The patient, who told Dr. Brody about the upcoming deal, believed that the information confided as part of his professional treatment would be held in confidence and would not be used by the psychiatrist for his personal benefit, the SEC said.
``The patient had established a relationship of trust and confidence with Dr. Brody, and had a history of confiding in Dr. Brody with respect to all aspects of his personal and professional life for the purpose of undergoing professional treatment,″ the SEC said in its court filing.
Dr. Brody began to buy Penril stock within 15 minutes after the appointment ended, eventually buying 15,000 shares through two brokerage firms, according to the SEC.
On June 17, the public announcement by Penril and Bay drove up Penril’s stock price by 36 percent, giving Dr. Brody $38,000 in profits when he sold his shares, the SEC said.