FINRA barred Kimberly Springsteen-Abbott for misuse of investor funds related to illiquid equipment leasing funds by improperly allocating expenses that were not related to the funds' business. Springsteen-Abbott serves as CEO, chief compliance officer and chair of Commonwealth Capital Corp., which is the parent company of brokerage Commonwealth Capital Securities Corp. FINRA also ordered her to pay disgorgment and fines totaling over $300,000.
FINRA OHO Decision #2011025675501
According to the findings, Springsteen-Abbott and her husband Hank "regularly" charged thousands of dollars of personal expenses on the same American Express card that they used for business purposes such that upon receiving the Amex account statement, Springsteen-Abbott allegedly allocated many personal expenses to the funds.
For instance, FINRA's investigation deemed Springsteen-Abbott's regular practice of charging personal expenses to the funds was "a way of life" and cited several expensive personal expenditures including a birthday cruise to Alaska, Disney family vacation, several lavish dinners, personal car rentals, clothing purchases and grocery expenses, ultimately concluding that she "abused her authority" through misuse of money belonging to investors in the funds.
The investigation states that when Springsteen-Abbott did provide business justification to FINRA staff for some of the expenses allocated to the funds, these justifications were overwhelmingly not credible or were demonstrably false.
The report additionally charged Springsteen-Abbott with lying to investigators about her alleged misconduct, noting that her lack of candor, lack of remorse, and repeated misconduct were all aggravating factors in the decision to bar Springsteen-Abbott from the industry and order $208,953.75 (plus interest) in disgorgment, plus a $100,000 fine.
According to the InvestmentNews, Springsteen-Abbott is planning to appeal the decision, which was authored by an extended panel of FINRA's Office of Hearing Officers. The same InvestmentNews article notes that Springsteen-Abbott in 2013 reached a $1.5 million settlement with the SEC over claims of misleading disclosures related to illiquid equipment leasing funds.
If you have invested with Kimberly Springsteen-Abbott, her firm Commonwealth Capital Securities Corp., or with any broker or firm whose blatant misuse of investor funds for personal reasons has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.