Federal agency accuses Wall Street employee of altering competing job offer to successfully obtain a $28,000 raise

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  • The Federal Reserve Board accused a worker of altering a competing job offer to get a raise.

  • The agency said the worker must notify all future banks he might work for of the incident.

  • Two experts told Insider that exaggerating to get a job or raise can carry serious consequences.

A federal regulatory agency accused Wall Street worker Orlando Romero of altering the base salary of a competing job offer in order to boost his pay.

According to the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Romero — who worked as a client service specialist at Deutsche Bank — provided his employer with a competing offer letter in 2018 that he edited to increase the proposed base salary.

FRB, an agency that oversees US banking policy, did not specify which company the competing letter was from or the amount of the initial salary that was offered in the letter. Romero, as well as a spokesperson from the FRB, did not respond to requests to comment from Insider.

Romero was able to increase his salary by about $28,000 to match the allegedly altered job offer, the agency said. About two years after the salary boost, Romero resigned, according to the FRB. Romero had worked at Deutsch Bank since 2013, per his LinkedIn profile.

The agency published a cease and desist letter which Romero signed and agreed to on Thursday. The FRB said it issued the order because the worker's conduct violated the company's internal policies and caused Deutsche Bank to sustain a loss "in the amount of the increased annual base salary."

Lying in salary negotiation can cause 'serious consequences'

Insider spoke with two labor lawyers who said that while lying to get a job or raise is likely common, it's far from a little white lie.

Employment attorney Robert Ottinger said Romero's conduct meets all the criteria for fraud, given he made a false representation to obtain money, and even went so far as to commit forgery.

He told Insider he suspects many workers don't realize the ramifications of exaggerating to get a raise or job offer.

"It could carry serious consequences if you get caught," Ottinger said. "Obviously, it's easier to prove when you get caught red-handed with documents."

In the letter, the FRB outlined several hurdles Romero must overcome in order to continue working at a US bank. The agency said that before Romero can accept a job at a bank, he must present the managing director or senior vice president of the institution with a copy of the cease and desist letter, as well as notify the FRB of his new role within 10 days of accepting the job.

"They've basically made sure that he can never work in the industry again," Ottinger said. "It would be poor optics for a bank to hire someone who lied and forged documents and it would also carry with it major risks."

Marjorie Mesidor, a partner at Phillips & Associates Law in New York, told Insider the letter does not bar Romero from adjacent industries like consulting. She emphasized that Romero's circumstances are very specific to banking.

"The blowback and ramifications from doing something like this can be quite dire for an individual, particularly in a profession that requires any level of licensing or ethics," she said, noting that while the average worker may lose their job in such cases, workers in the medical field or legal realm could be ousted from the industry entirely.

Ottinger said he suspects its common for workers to exaggerate during the bargaining process — a concept he calls "puffery" — but, in the two decades since he opened his law firm he's never worked on a case based solely on it.

Mesidor said she's seen instances where companies have discovered a worker lied to get a job or raise during the discovery process for a lawsuit, an issue that could cause workers to lose out on payouts in suits against their company.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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