BROOKLYN (CN) - Citibank unfairly fired a senior vice president after he reported a junior VP for embezzling $23 million, the first VP claims in Federal Court.
Peter Orlandi sued Citibank. They are the only parties to the complaint.
Orlandi claims he was senior vice president in treasure derivatives accounting in Citibank's Long Island City offices when he was fired in October 2011. He says he worked for Citibank since 1996.
Orlandi claims that in outgoing wire transfers to cover employee expenditures in July 2011, he discovered that Gary Foster, who reported directly to him, appeared to have funneled out large quantities of company cash.
Foster had voluntarily resigned in or around January, Orlandi says.
In his initial review, Orlandi says, he found "certainly unusual expenditures" from July to December 2010, shortly before Foster's resignation, totaling $15.3 million.
"Each of the nine transactions contained an explanation of the expenditure and the same odd comment: 'Contact Gary Foster,'" the complaint states.
Orlandi says he found that there was no legitimate paper trail for "these peculiar wire transfers," all of which were sent to the same JP Morgan Chase account, apparently a personal account, and all of which "ended in round numbers."
He says he notified a superior "that he believed Foster had engaged in fraudulent conduct." Citibank then launched a full-scale investigation and notified the FBI and the FDIC.
Orlandi claims he cooperated completely and "worked many long hours on the investigation, and met with federal government officials" and that "through these efforts it was discovered that Foster engaged in conduct over at least an eight-year period of time knowingly falsifying records in support of a scheme to embezzle funds from Citibank."
He adds: "In the investigation, Orlandi was not accused of failing to properly comply with existing supervisory controls in effect in his role as Foster's manager, nor was he found to have failed to do so."
Foster was charged in June 2011 with bank fraud and pleaded guilty to the federal charge in September 2011, according to the complaint.
One month later, Orlandi says, he was summoned to Citibank's Manhattan headquarters and told he "was terminated due to a lack of leadership regarding the Gary Foster situation."
Orlandi claims that he turned Foster in, an activity protected under whistle-blower laws, including Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank.
"Orlandi's protected activity was a contributing factor in Citibank's adverse employment action against him, which constituted discrimination," Orlandi says.
He seeks reinstatement and double lost pay, or lost pay and front pay.
He is represented by Mark Susswein, with Liddle & Robinson.
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