Breezy Point man sentenced to 1 year in federal prison for stock scheme
Mark Miller, 45, and a former Breezy Point City Council member, was sentenced Thursday to a year and a day in federal prison for one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Breezy Point resident and former city council member was sentenced to a year and one day in federal prison Thursday, May 18, for his role in a scheme to hijack dormant publicly traded shell companies and then pump and dump their stocks to unwitting buyers.
Mark Miller, 45, of Breezy Point, is the last of three men to be sentenced for the securities fraud scheme, which became public through an indictment filed in June 2021 in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, CNBC reported.
According to court documents, Miller, Christopher James Rajkaran of Queens, New York, and Guyana, and Saeid Jaberian of Hopkins, Minnesota, devised and carried out a scheme to surreptitiously hijack and assume control over dormant public shell companies. The men used their control over the companies to fraudulently manipulate and pump up the price of the companies' stock so that they could profit from the sale of stock to unwitting investors.
The court documents further stated the three men acquired large amounts of stock in dormant public shell companies that traded over-the-counter at low prices, often less than 1 cent per share. The defendants then assumed control over the shell companies by creating fake and filing fake resignation letters and board resolutions purporting to announce the resignation of the existing management team and the appointment of one or more conspirators as new officers and directors of the companies. The conspirators used their control over the hijacked shell companies to issue fraudulent press releases and filings designed to fraudulently inflate and “pump up” the price of the hijacked companies’ stock. The men then sold or “dumped” their stock at the fraudulently inflated prices.
CNBC reported Miller’s lawyer asked U.S. District Court Judge David Doty to sentence Miller to probation, citing his contracting business — which the Breezy Point man runs with his wife — the fact they have teenage children and what he called a “great disparity” in the punishment of probation meted out to one of his co-defendants.
The one-year sentence, recommended by prosecutors, was markedly lower than the sentence of 30 to 37 months suggested by federal sentencing guidelines for the charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, CNBC reported
In addition to his prison term, which Miller is expected to start serving in August, Doty sentenced Miller to two years of supervised release after he completes his time locked up. During that probationary period, Miller will be barred from buying, selling or trading stocks, CNBC reported.
Miller and the other men were criminally charged for their pump-and-dump scheme in June of 2021. At the same time, Miller resigned from his seat on the Breezy Point City Council, about halfway through his first year in office.
Miller pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud on Oct. 7, 2021.