An Allegany County egg-farming family was awarded $3.2 million in what lawyers believe is the largest settlement of a financial securities fraud case in Upstate New York history.

AXA financial advisor Francesco Puccio sold the family an expensive and unnecessary variable annuity and life insurance plan, a lawyer for the family said. The family lost their life savings without understanding what they had been asked to invest in, the lawyer said.

Puccio, who has been removed as a broker, was previously convicted of stealing from another elderly client.

The elderly couple who operated the Fitzpatrick Poultry Farm in Whitesville was awarded the settlement by the government-authorized non-profit organization FINRA, or Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The settlement was announced by the family’s attorney Jason Kane of Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane at a press conference today.

FINRA ordered AXA to pay the family for its losses after an arbitration process that began in 2016. During the process, AXA denied the allegations of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

In a statement provided after this article was initially published, AXA said it does not condone Puccio’s actions and he was no longer working at the company.

“We do not condone any actions by this individual which were inconsistent with our policies and values,” the statement said.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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