July 3, 2009

SEC lawsuit targets Aura

Aura Financial Services and six stock brokers reaped big commissions while fleecing customers through high-pressure tactics, churning and other unethical practices for years, according to a lawsuit filed Friday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The brokers drained customers' funds of $3.5 million from 2005 through April of this year, according to the suit in federal court in Miami.

''Aura and the six brokers treated the accounts of certain customers as their personal gravy train,'' said Katherine Addleman, director of the SEC's regional Atlanta office.

The SEC, which was joined in the lawsuit by the Alabama Securities Commission, is seeking fines and repayment of what it alleges are ill-gotten gains.

Aura declined to comment.

The company is based in Birmingham, Ala., with offices in Miami and Islandia, N.Y., and formerly had an office in Pembroke Pines.

Four of the brokers named in the lawsuit are from South Florida and two from New York.

Blum Law Group represents several investors who have already filed FINRA arbitration claims to recover losses.