Share hijacker Mark Miller pleads guilty to pumping and hauling scheme

A masked pedestrian looks at his smartphone as he drives past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, Monday, July 20, 2020.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

On Thursday, the Minnesota-based general contractor pleaded guilty to a scheme to steal dormant shell companies and then pump their shares onto the OTC market to unwitting investors.

Mark Miller is the second person to plead guilty to an insolent scam that lasted from 2017 to 2019 and involved fraudulent takeovers of at least four publicly traded companies that did not have effective businesses and had not filed the required regulatory filings for some time. …

Miller’s co-defendant, Christopher James Rajkaran, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud last week in US District Court in Minneapolis.

Miller pleaded guilty to the same charge in this court. Like Rajkaran, he will be dismissed on 14 other criminal charges over which he was charged when he is convicted later, under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Miller, 44, is free on bail. But Rajkaran, 36, who lives in Queens, New York, is being held without bail due to the risk of escaping due to his ties to the state of Guyana.

The third defendant, Syed Jaberian, 59, from Hopkins, Minnesota, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and electronic fraud and is awaiting trial.

As part of his request, Miller agreed to forfeit $ 38,000 of illegally obtained income.

Federal sentencing rules stipulate that he will receive a prison sentence of 30 to 37 months and a fine of $ 10,000 to $ 100,000.

But Judge David Doty will determine Miller’s actual sentence at sentencing.

During the hearing, Miller gave short answers in which he admitted that he understood the plea agreement, and described his criminal actions, detailed by the prosecutor.

“I am guilty of the statement you went through,” Miller told the attorney.

In June, three defendants were charged with a scheme to use resignation letters allegedly written by others to seize control of four bogus companies – Digitiliti, Encompass Holdings, Bell Buckle Holdings, and Utilicraft Aerospace Industries.

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Prosecutors said Miller and Jaberian, as well as an unidentified person associated with Miller, became nominal CEOs and presidents of the target companies.

Miller admitted that he used the SEC’s EDGAR public records system and fake press releases to inflate the stock of these companies by claiming new business opportunities when the firms did not actually have significant transactions or earnings.

Miller admitted that he and his co-defendants bought millions of shares in companies, in many cases for much less than a penny a share, and then sold them over the counter for many times what they paid. their. Prosecutors said the trio made hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from the scheme.

At the time he was indicted, Miller was involved in an attempt to seize control of Florida-based penny company New World Gold Corp., which is not listed as one of his seven targets in either a criminal or civil action. against Miller filed by the SEC.

Miller voluntarily dropped a lawsuit he filed in Florida as part of his efforts to acquire New World Gold less than two weeks after CNBC disclosed his involvement with the company.

Following a criminal charge this summer, Miller resigned from his position as City Councilor in Breezy Point, Minnesota.

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