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  • nivasvs nivasvs Nov 20, 2004 1:40 PM Flag

    unethical analyst

    That time this 'prick' wan't with Brean Murray, but with other brokerage firm.

    "Analysts at better-known firms are getting in on the action. One is Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc. in Arlington, Va., the 12th-ranked U.S. stock underwriter this year. Friedman Billings analyst Jonathan Aschoff says he was just trying to get the real story when he impersonated a doctor in early March.

    First he sent an e-mail to Dr. Cunningham, the oncologist involved with trials of Genta's experimental cancer drug, requesting a progress update. When it went unanswered, Mr. Aschoff says he telephoned on March 13, posing as a "Dr. Rosen" who had a leukemia patient interested in enrolling in the trial. The alias came from the movie "Fletch," where Chevy Chase pretends to be a doctor by that name, says Mr. Aschoff.

    Dr. Cunningham, who works at a cancer center in Dallas, says he talked to the caller about the progress of the trials and the side effects seen. He says he mentioned some shrinking of the "lymphadenopathy," which means swollen lymph nodes. "What's that?" the caller asked.

    Dr. Cunningham, his suspicions aroused, said he had to run but would call back with some even better information if he could just have "Dr. Rosen's" phone number. Racing to his computer and rummaging through old e-mails, he found that the number was the same as the one Mr. Aschoff had given in the e-mail request days earlier. "I was mad as hell," Dr. Cunningham says. He called Mr. Aschoff and "chewed him out." He says he told the analyst his behavior was "unethical in the extreme. I don't appreciate being pulled out of patient care to talk to someone who is lying to me."

    Mr. Aschoff's defense: "Companies are saying to investors, `Give me your money.' Are you going to give it to idiots who go off unchecked? I'm trying to bring the truth to investors." He acknowledges lying about being a doctor but says it was for the greater good of unearthing the truth.

    Friedman Billings says it provides objective analysis of about 400 companies, demanding "the highest standard of ethical, professional behavior" of all employees."