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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 21, 2021

Stock Promoters Charged In “Pump And Dump” Securities Fraud Scheme

MINNEAPOLIS – A recently unsealed indictment charges three individuals with securities fraud for running an illegal pump-and-dump stock manipulation scheme by hijacking dormant public shell companies. The 15-count indictment charges all three defendants with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud and wire fraud.

According to court documents, Mark Allen Miller, 43, of Breezy Point, Minnesota, Christopher James Rajkaran, 35, of Queens, New York, and Guyana, and Saeid Jaberian, 59, of Hopkins, Minnesota, devised and carried out a scheme to surreptitiously hijack and assume control over dormant public shell companies. The defendants 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.

According to court documents, the defendants acquired large amounts of stock in dormant public shell companies that traded over-the-counter at low prices, often less than $0.01 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 defendants then sold or “dumped” their stock at the fraudulently inflated prices.

Rajkaran, who was arrested on June 18, 2021, in the Eastern District of New York, made his initial appearance U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge John Cho. Miller and Jaberian will make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer in St. Paul, Minnesota. Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk of the District of Minnesota made the announcement.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to thank the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance on this matter. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph H. Thompson and Miranda E. Dugi are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated June 21, 2021