AXA Advisors has been fined $100,000.00 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for not investigating and firing a broker who was running a Ponzi scheme, which dates back to 2001. Kenneth Neely began to work with AXA Advisors in Clayton, Missouri in 2007 before FINRA permanently barred him from the financial industry in 2009. Mr. Neely's Ponzi scheme defrauded investors out of $600,000.00 who for the most part belonged to a church and were led to believe they were investing in a real estate investment trust. Be that as it may, AXA was aware of Mr. Neely's fraudulent activity in 2008 when AXA conducted a yearly audit of him, which revealed a spreadsheet with investor payout information. Mr. Neely falsely claimed that the figures were for a client who wanted to start and budget a business. Mr. Neely eventually pled guilty to mail fraud and converting and commingling funds. Mr. Neely was fired by AXA Advisors in 2009.

A Ponzi scheme is an unsustainable fraud pyramid that inevitably ends in ruin. Schemers use money raised from latter investors or investors higher up the pyramid to pay an earlier investor's returns. Ponzi schemes invariably fall apart when markets deteriorate or when the schemer is unable to raise more cash. According to FINRA, Mr. Neely used his investors' money to pay earlier investors while generating sham invoices, which represented ownership certificates.

Selling away is the inappropriate practice of an investment professional that sells or solicits securities or investments not held or approved by the brokerage firm with which the professional is associated with. Under NASD and FINRA rules, brokerage firms must approve investments offered by their investment professionals and supervise its sales. AXA Advisors can be held liable for Mr. Neely's activities because it either failed to establish a reasonable supervisory system, or because it failed to implement an existing reasonable supervisory system. Even if AXA Advisors did not know of Mr. Neely's activities, it can still be liable to investors for damages for not investigating into Mr. Neely's computer records, lies, and questionable history.

Have you suffered investment losses in Kenneth Neely's Ponzi scheme? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation.

The most important of investors' rights is the right to be informed! This Investors' Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 30 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors' rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please visit our website,, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.