The story written by Bruce Kelly of Investment News had all the makings of a tabloid scandal. Stockbrokers, forged documents, sexual harassment, an SEC investigation, Hooters girls and the misappropriation of customer funds from a prominent brokerage firm. The problem is that Kelly is a real journalist and the story he penned today about Commonwealth Capital Securities isn’t fiction. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – FINRA – has accused Commonwealth’s CEO, Kimberly Springsteen-Abbott of investment fraud.
FINRA says that Springsteen – Abbott misappropriated customer monies and used them to pay for personal expenses. Included on the list was a family vacation and a restaurant charge at Hooters. The company denies the charges and says that any charges were business related. The company said that investor funds were restored after FINRA’s concerns were brought to light.
FINRA’s accusations apparently came to light after sexual harassment and whistleblower complaints were filed by a former employee.
The company, which raised $240 million according to the Investment News story, is accused of misdirecting about $345,000. Some feel the individual charges are diminimis while others feel the conduct is pure investment fraud.
You may be a able to bring a stockbroker fraud claim if a stockbroker or investment adviser misappropriates your money, fails to follow your investment instructions, recommends an unsuitable investment or fails to understand your needs and risk tolerance (“Know Your Customer” rules). Most investment fraud claims are now handled by arbitration before FINRA and can be handled on a contingent fee basis. (That means no legal fees unless the lawyer recovers money for you.)
If you lost $100,000 or more because of a stockbroker, investment adviser or other financial professional, give us a call. The investment fraud lawyers at Mahany & Ertl have helped many victims get back their hard earned money. We also take cases involving other frauds including legal and accounting malpractice and Ponzi schemes.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. Fraud recovery available in many jurisdictions.
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Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.