Debra Ferrara, a former client administrator at Morgan Stanley, was fined and suspended by FINRA for fraudulently transferring a total of $108,680 out of a client’s account to third party bank accounts and for falsifying records. Morgan Stanley terminated Ferrara in December 2011 for falsifying information recorded in its books. Ferrara agreed to be fined $5,000 and suspended from the securities industry for sixty days.

Ferarra had provided administrative support to a financial adviser who was responsible for the targeted client’s account. In November 2011, Ferrara received an email instruction forwarded by the adviser to process a wire transfer from a client’s account to a third party bank account. They did not realize that the instruction was sent by an impostor who hacked the email account of the client’s authorized person.

According to Morgan Stanley’s rules, Ferrara should have contacted the authorized person to verbally confirm the transfer instruction and record the event on the firm’s internal records, but she did not. Rather, the settlement said that Ferrara falsely wrote on the record that she did verbally confirm all the transfers with the client’s authorized person, and also “provided fictitious reasons for the transfer such as bills, medical bills, or bills payment.”

According to the settlement, Debra Ferrara has been in the securities industry since May 1983. From June 2005 to June 2009, she was working at Citigroup Global Markets Inc., before moving over to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in June 2009. Since her termination from Morgan Stanley, Ferrara was associated with another FINRA firm from May 2013 to April 2015. She is not currently associated with any FINRA firm.

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