Two stock hijackers pleaded guilty to committing securities fraud by engaging in an illegal pump-and-dump scheme.
On Thursday, Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk of the District of Minnesota announced that Mark Miller of Breezy Point, and Christopher Rajkaran of Queens, New York admitted their roles in the pump-and-dump securities fraud scheme.
Miller and Rajkaran admitted to hijacking and assuming control of public shell companies and fraudulently manipulating their stocks. The defendants carried out their scheme by acquiring hundreds of thousands and even millions of shares of stock in dormant public shell companies that are trading over-the-counter at low prices. These companies are often selling their stocks at less than a fraction of a penny.
The defendants then issued fake filings and press releases to illegally boost or “pump up” the stock prices of the hijacked shell companies. They then “dumped” or sold their shares at inflated prices.
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Folk, Rajkaran pleaded guilty on October 7 while Miller admitted guilt earlier today, October 14.
Rajkaran and Miller pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud before U.S. District Court Senior Judge David S. Doty.
As part of his guilty plea, Miller agreed to the forfeiture of $38,000 in ill-gotten profits. Based on federal sentencing guidelines, he is facing a prison sentence of 30 to 37 months. He is also facing a monetary penalty of $10,000 to $100,000. Judge Doty will determine his actual punishment.
During his plea hearing, Miller said, “I’m guilty of the summary that you walked through,” as quoted by CNBC.
The defendants’ third co-conspirator, Saeid Jaberian of Hopkins pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud charges.
In June, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota filed securities fraud charges against Miller, Rajkaran, and Jaberian.
Have a story you want USA Herald to cover? Submit a tip here and if we think it’s newsworthy, we’ll follow up on it.
Want to contribute a story? We also accept article submissions — check out our writer’s guidelines here.