Dennis Wright, an ex-insurance agent for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., pleaded guilty to securities fraud yesterday after federal authorities charged him with operating a plan to defraud the company and many of its clients out of over $1.5 million. Wright was alleged to have to fraudulently purchased and sold securities offered by AXA from the early 1990s through June 2012. He is now looking at a sentence of up to 25 years imprisonment and, according to his plea agreement, a fine of $250,000. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has put that number at $1 million.
The SEC also filed a case against Wright yesterday. The agency’s complaint states that Wright was both a stockbroker and insurance salesman, handling AXA clients’ retirement funds. He is alleged to have fraudulently persuaded clients to liquidate their assets, assuring them that he would invest the assets in what he called “managed funds.” Subsequently, Wright received more than $1.5 million from more than 30 AXA clients by means of account transfers, withdrawals, and other methods.
Wright is also believed to have run a business called Wright Associates in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, keeping an operating account for the company at First National Bank. Authorities maintain that Wright placed the illicit gains from his scheme into that account and used the funds to run his fraudulent scheme as well as for his own personal use. If clients asked about their investments, Wright used company letterhead to falsify account statements showing balances and investment returns.
Wright would pay funds from his company account as clients asked for withdrawals. According to federal authorities, many times clients asked for amounts that were greater than what they had given to him. In order to provide the requested funds, Wright would fraudulently persuade AXA clients to liquidate their company accounts and to let him invest the cash for them.
If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.