MIAMI (CN) – Aura Financial Services and its six registered reps defrauded customers by paying themselves extravagant commissions while losing money, churning accounts, making unauthorized trades and other unethical and illegal practices, the SEC says. It sued Aura, Ronald E. Hardy Jr., Peter C. Dunne, Qais R. Bhavnagari, Dipin Malla, Sandeep Singh, and Raymond Rapaglia in Federal Court.
The SEC says the defendants have run their game since 2005. The men recruited many of their victims, some of them elderly, through cold calls.
The SEC say the men paid themselves more than $1 million in commissions in 2008 alone, as they “rampantly churned” accounts, while losing $3.5 million for their customers.
Aura is based in Birmingham, Ala., and has offices in Islandia, N.Y., and Miami, Fla., and formerly had an office in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Aura has been registered with the SEC as a broker dealer since 1997.
Hardy, 34, lives in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.; Dunne, 35, in Medford, N.Y.; they worked in Aura’s New York officers.
Aura’s South Florida reps were Bhavnagari, 28, of Sunny Isles; Malla, 28, of West Palm Beach; Singh, 29, of West Palm Beach; and Rapaglia, 47, of Pembroke Pines.
The SEC demands disgorgement, penalties and an injunction.