For the purpose of proposing a settlement of rule violations alleged by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), without admitting or denying the findings, prior to a regulatory hearing, and without an adjudication of any issue, Juan Santana submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of Juan Santana, Respondent (AWC 20110288633, February 20,2013).
From March 1, 2010 through July 15, 2011, Santana was employed as both an investment representative with Chase Investment Services Corp. ("CISC") and as a personal banker with Chase Bank.
Now that we've gotten that mundane part of the preliminaries out of the way, we now travel from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Sometime during June 2011, a customer desiring to make a deposit made his way into the Chase Bank branch where Santana was employed. The good Mr. Santana asked the customer if he needed any help, to which the reply was no thanks.
Of course if that customer were me, I might have had a heart attack at this point. I mean, after all, when was the left time you walked into a bank branch and a human being asked without prompting if he or she could help you? Most of my visits to the bank involve missing pens, no deposit slips, and an ATM that doesn't have cash and won't issue receipts.
In any event, back to the customer and his deposit.
According to the AWC, Santana noticed that this depositor who didn't need any help actually did. You see, the customer had absent-mindedly finished his transaction but left his wallet on some counter. Santana saw the wayward wallet and took it back to his workplace desk. The AWC says that "he placed it out of sight." That's an ominous turn of a phrase, no?
A few key points. The wallet contained the customer's identification, credit cards and $50 in cash.
At some point, the customer returns to the bank and asks several bank employees if they had found his wallet. Pointedly, the customer sought out the former wannabe helper Santana and asked him if he had seen his missing wallet.
And what response issued from Santana? You know, the bank employee who had the customer's wallet hidden out of sight? Alas, the recent crop of Good Samaritans ain't what it used to be: Santana appears to have shrugged off the question and said he had not seen the wallet.
After the customer left the bank - still sans wallet - Santana the Quasi-Good Samaritan did an odd thing. According to the AWC, he:
placed the cash in an envelope for safekeeping. Santana then went to a post office mailbox across the street from the bank and placed the wallet in the mailbox. . .
As if what? The good folks at the Post Office were going to find the wallet with the customer's address and forward it to him? The AWC asserts that despite having deposited the wallet into an official United States Post Office mailbox, the wallet was never returned to the customer. Imagine that. Like I said, the current crop of Good Samaritans just ain't up to snuff.
Apparently unfamiliar with the concept of leaving well enough alone, the following day Santana telephoned the customer (apparently having found the number in the bank's customer database) and claimed that a stranger found the wallet and put it in a mailbox. A nice fillip here was that Santana added that the same wallet-finding stranger removed the cash from the wallet and provided it to Santana in an envelope. Santana asked the customer to come back to the bank and retrieve his $50, which is what occurred.
The AWC doesn't explain what prompted a July 2011 bank investigation into the wallet incident but, sure enough, bank investigators somehow wound up questioning Santana. Things didn't go that well for Santana because he was terminated by Chase Bank, which notified CISC, which terminated Santana on July 15, 2011. Online FINRA record as of February 22, 2013, note that on July 15, 2011, Santana was discharged by Chase Bank for:
"TERMINATED BY AFFILIATE BANK - NON SECURITIES RELATED. REGISTERED REP REMOVED A BANK CLIENTS WALLET FROM THE BRANCH WHERE THE CUSTOMER ACCIDENTALLY LEFT IT."
The AWC alleged that Santana's lie to the customer about not finding his wallet and that lovely creative bit of a story about the stranger violated FINRA Rule 2010. In accordance with the AWC, FINRA imposed upon Santana a $5,000 fine and a 30-business-day suspension from employment or association with any FINRA member in any capacity.
Bill Singer's Comment
Frankly, I don't even know where to begin with this one. Doesn't look like Santana stole any cash or used any credit cards. Frankly, I have no idea what the hell was going on here.
However, let me just add this additional detail. According to online FINRA records as of February 22, 2013, Santana was charged on July 13, 2011, in New York City Criminal Court with the felony of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree involving a credit or debit card. The FINRA record indicates that "NO PLEA TAKEN YET" but notes a "COURT DATE IS 10/4/11." All of which makes no sense as of February 22, 2013, but all of which seems perfectly appropriate given the oddball nature of this mess.
And with that, why don't we play ourselves off with this blast from Woodstock and the band Santana -"Evil Ways":