Update appears at end of story.
Rochester, N.Y. – The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a cease and desist order against David Mura. The local broker is accused of violating securities laws and employing a man implicated in a financial scandal that wiped out many area retirees.
The alleged activity took place while Mura worked for J.P. Turner’s Rochester office. The SEC says Mura sold promissory notes for startup companies that offered an 8 percent annual return. He was not authorized by J.P Turner to offer the investments and the activity was not registered with the SEC.
The SEC alleges Mura paid himself more than $50,000 of his clients’ money that was supposed to be invested in the companies. Another allegation is that Mura ousted the founder of one of the companies through “threats of violence and death.”
The investments are extremely risky and at least 20 clients lost most or all of their life savings, according to attorney Jason Kane, who filed a complaint on their behalf with the independent regulatory agency FINRA. Kane says his clients lost a collective $3 million.
“That’s money they had to live on for the rest of their lives,” Kane said. “The money’s gone.”
The SEC says Mura’s alleged activity took place between 2008 and 2012.
The SEC says Mura employed Ted Tackaberry, one of the principals of the failed Pittsford Capital venture. Tackaberry and his partner are accused of bilking 275 investors, mostly retirees, of more than $11 million. Investors have only been paid back 5 to 6 cents on the dollar. The SEC says Tackaberry was illegally soliciting investors for Mura, as he was not registered as a broker and was not allowed to do engage in such activity after the Pittsford Capital scandal unfolded in 2006.
In 2010, a federal judge found Tackaberry in contempt of a court order to pay restitution. In addition, the judge found reason to believe Tackaberry was involved in a new promissory note scheme.
Tom Antinoro, who invested $90,000 with Tackaberry and got back only $3,000, was incensed to learn Tackaberry was still soliciting investors.
“I think that’s just another slap in somebody’s face,” Antinoro said. “He just doesn’t care. He’s going to do whatever he wants to do.”
Calls to the cell phones of Tackaberry and Mura were not returned.
The SEC also filed an action against Tackaberry in federal court, asking a judge to permanently forbid him engaging in investment work.
An administrative law judge will hear Mura’s case. In addition to seeking a cease and desist order, the SEC would like the judge to consider whatever other penalties he deems appropriate, including fines.
J.P. Turner has settled with Mura’s clients. The SEC says the company fired Mura when it learned of his activities.
Update: Tackaberry returned our call and said he is cooperating with the SEC investigation and did not make money from the Mura scheme.