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MINNEAPOLIS – Two men have entered guilty pleas to securities fraud charges in connection to their illegal pump-and-dump stock manipulation scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.
According to their guilty pleas, Mark Allen Miller, 44, of Breezy Point, and Christopher James Rajkaran, 36, of Queens, New York, and Guyana, participated in a scheme to 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.
The defendants carried out their scheme by obtaining hundreds of thousands or even millions of shares of stock in dormant public shell companies that traded over-the-counter at low prices, often for less than a fraction of a penny 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.
The defendants each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud before Senior Judge David S. Doty in U.S. District Court. Miller entered his guilty plea earlier today and Rajkaran entered his guilty plea on October 7, 2021. Co-conspirator Saeid Jaberian, 59, of Hopkins, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud charges.
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.