Litigation Release No. 23751 / February 16, 2017

Securities and Exchange Commission v. John Abio and Abio Financial Group, Inc., No. 17-cv-00411-K (N.D. Tex. filed Feb. 13, 2017)

SEC Sues Unregistered Broker Who Received $3 Million in Commissions From Securities Sales Related to Alleged Offering Fraud

On February 13, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an action against John Abio (also known as Tre Brandenberg) and Abio Financial Group, Inc., for acting as unregistered brokers and for selling unregistered securities issued by Providence Financial Investments, Inc. (Providence Financial) and Providence Fixed Income Fund, LLC (Providence Fund).

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in Texas, alleges that Abio and Abio Financial earned at least $3.18 million in commissions on sales of notes to more than 100 investors in several states. The complaint further alleges that Abio was Providence Financial's and Providence Fund's highest paid salesperson and that he led the sales efforts for Texas and parts of Florida.

The SEC's complaint charges Abio and Abio Financial with violating Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 15(a)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The complaint seeks injunctive relief against future violations as well as the disgorgement of Abio's and Abio Financial's ill-gotten gains as well as civil penalties.

The SEC previously charged Providence Financial, Providence Fund, and other defendants with allegedly engaging in a related offering fraud. That litigation is ongoing.

The SEC encourages investors to check the backgrounds of people selling them investments. A quick search on the SEC's investor.gov website would have shown that Abio and Abio Financial are not registered to sell investments.

The SEC's investigation in this matter is continuing.

SEC Complaint