FINRA’s Department of Enforcement investigated Abbonizio and alleged he solicited approximately ten customers to invest $625,000 in three private placements. During the relevant time period, Wells Fargo’s policies and procedures prohibited firm employees from engaging in outside business activities without prior written notice and approval. According to FINRA, Abbonizio never disclosed these outside investments to Wells Fargo.
In addition to soliciting outside business investments, Abbonizio also allegedly referred individuals who were hired by an outside company for high-level positions and received compensation from the company in the form of shares. The company Abbonizio referred individuals to was one of the companies involved in the aforementioned private placements. According to FINRA, Abbonizio received shares from the company in the approximate amount of $100,000, which was not disclosed to Wells Fargo.
Based upon the foregoing misconduct, FINRA alleges Abbonizio violated NASD Conduct Rules 2110, 3030, and 3040, as well as FINRA Rule 2010. Specifically, NASD Rule 3040 states no FINRA registered person may be an employee or receive compensation for outside business transactions unless he or she has provided prior written notice to their employer. Outside business transactions and selling away are prohibited activities because they serve to undercut the supervisory system implemented by FINRA-member firms and FINRA itself to protect the investing public.
Lufrano Law, LLC is a national securities litigation firm and has experience representing investors who have investment disputes with brokers and broker-dealers. If you lost money investing with Abbonizio while Wells Fargo employed him as a general securities representative, you may be able to recover your losses through FINRA arbitration. Our firm only receives a fee if you recover money. Please contact one of our attorneys at (800) 627-2179 to schedule a free consultation.