Dan Mangan, 18 June 2021
Three men engaged in a brazen scheme to “surreptitiously hijack” and take over dormant shell companies, whose stock they then fraudulently inflated to dump to unwitting investors, according to charges in an indictment that was unsealed Friday.
The men from 2017 through 2019 allegedly used fake resignation letters to seize control of four shell companies and then used the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR public filing system and bogus press releases to fraudulently “pump up” their share prices by claiming new business opportunities, the indictment says.
Millions of shares of those stocks, which the defendants had bought in many cases for less than 1 cent per share, then were sold on the over-the-counter market by the men and others for profits of as much as 900%, according to the court filing.
The defendants — Mark Allen Miller, Christopher James Rajkaran and Saeid Jaberian, also known as Andre Jaberian — are charged with 15 criminal counts of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.
The indictment says that Minnesota residents Miller and Jaberian, as well as an unidentified person who is a relative of Miller, actually became the nominal CEOs and presidents of companies targeted in the scam.