On May 3, 2013 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against Commonwealth Capital Securities Corp. (CCSC) and Kimberly Springsteen-Abbott, owner, chief executive, and head of compliance for CCSC, for misusing investor funds. CCSC employs about 22 registered representatives and sells private placements and direct investments. Since 1993, CCSC marketed and sold 13 different equipment leasing funds raising $240 million for various technology equipment leases. The technology leases were supposed to have durations of 12 to 36 months.
Instead, according to FINRA, from December 2008 until February 2012, Kimberley Springsteen-Abbot misused investor funds to pay for various personal credit card charges and other expenses totaling at least $334,798. Some of those personal expenses include a $1,971 family vacation in 2010, and a $12,414 board of directors meeting in Hawaii in 2010. In total, FINRA alleges that 2,272 credit card charges related to misuse of funds.
In addition, FINRA alleges that during the agency’s examination in 2011, Kimberley Springsteen-Abbot and CCSC falsified and backdated a memo accounting for tickets to Disney World. Kimberley Springsteen-Abbot’s and CCSC’s manipulations of the records caused the brokerage firm’s books and records to be inaccurate.
CCSC had a fiduciary duty to investors to ensure that funds entrusted to the company were used appropriately. An adviser entrusted with client funds has a duty to refrain from self-dealing and to fully disclose any conflicts of interest. According to the FINRA complaint the internal controls employed by CCSC were insufficient to prevent the misuse of customer funds.
If you are a victim of securities misconduct, a securities lawyer at Gana LLP may be able to help you. To learn more, contact our offices for a free consultation. We do not charge a legal fee unless we recover money for our clients.