October 11, 2013
You think you know. You're pretty sure. That email is from your customer. Except, these days, what is it that you really know or should even be sure about when it comes to anything online? Today's BrokeAndBroker Blog pounds one more nail into the coffin of Internet uncertainty.
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, Philippe R. Oertle submitted a Letter of
Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of Philippe
R. Oertle, Respondent (AWC 2012033616101, September 30, 2013).
Oertle was registered with with Citicorp Investment Services
in October 2006, where he remained until his May 2007 association with Citigroup
Global Markets Inc. ("CGMI"). The AWC asserts
that Oertle had no prior relevant disciplinary history.
July 3rd Email
On July 3, 2012, an email requesting a $44,743 wire transfer
was sent from a customer email account to Oertle's firm email account - the email
requested the transfer from the customer's account with the brokerage firm's affiliated
bank to another domestic bank. The communication explained that the customer
was in an important meeting and would not be available to speak by telephone.
In response to the email transfer request, Oertle collected the necessary information to
process the wire transfer, which included the names of the receiving bank and account
to be credited, plus the American Banking Association routing number. Some of
this information was obtained through further email exchanges between Oertle
and the customer.
After Oertle obtained the required information, he entered it
on the affiliated bank's transaction request form, on which he noted that the
request had been initiated by "Telephone." The AWC asserts that Oertle knowingly mischaracterized the initial and subsequent email queries as done by telephone.
Following Oertle's preparation of the transfer request form,
the affiliated bank's Client Service Offer completed the form and the requested
wire was faxed to the firm's Funds Transfer Unit.
July 6th Email
On the morning of July 6, 2012, Oertle received another email
from the same customer seeking a second wire between the same two banks in the
amount of $48,690. As with the first transaction, Oertle allegedly filled out the
transfer form with misleading "telephone" notation and the wire was again faxed to the firm's Funds Transfer Unit.
The AWC asserts that, in fact, the purported customer was not the
party transmitting the two funds transfer requests; to the contrary, an online imposter was at work. Apparently, on July 6th,
the actual customer became aware of the July 3rd transaction and
immediately contacted Oertel. Although the customer's communication resulted in the
cancellation of the July 6th wire, the earlier wire had been processed. The
affiliated bank subsequently repaid the customer for the July 3rd
According to online FINRA documents as of October 11, 2013,
CGMI "Discharged" Oertle on July 11, 2012 based upon allegations of:
BREACH OF FIRM BANKING POLICY WITH RESPECT TO VERIFYING
FUND TRANSFER REQUESTS RECEIVED VIA EMAIL.
FINRA asserted that Oertle's preparation of two forms
falsely attesting that he had spoken to a customer to confirm two wire transfer
instructions violated FINRA Rule 2010. In accordance with the terms of the AWC,
FINRA imposed upon Oertle a $5,000 fine and a 15-business-day suspension from
association with any FINRA member in any capacity.
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