The headquarters of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seen in Washington, DC, January 28, 2021.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
A Minnesota man criminally charged with hijacking dormant shell companies in pump-and-dump fraud schemes dropped a lawsuit he had filed in an effort to seize a penny-stock company in Florida.
The voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit by the fraud suspect, Mark Miller, on Thursday night came less than two weeks after CNBC reported his involvement with the Florida company.
The dismissal also came about a week after Miller’s lawyer in that lawsuit withdrew as his attorney.
Federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission in separate criminal and civil actions filed in Minnesota federal court in June accuse Miller of taking over inactive shell companies and promoting false business opportunities in order to inflate their stock prices, then selling millions of shares for profit.
Miller filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County, Florida, court in February asking a judge to order a shareholder meeting of a company called New World Gold Corporation. The judge granted the motion, according to court documents.
The Minnesota man filed another another motion in the case in June — just a day before his indictment by federal prosecutors.
Miller claimed in a legal filing he was unanimously voted in as director of New World Gold at the shareholder meeting but that the number of shareholders at the meeting did not meet quorum for a voting group. Miller requested the judge to retroactively grant quorum for the voting group present at the May shareholder meeting.
At the hearing for the motion last week, Miller’s attorney abruptly withdrew from the case, citing “irreconcilable differences that have nothing to do with money.” The attorney’s motion to withdraw was granted Tuesday.
Miller submitted a filing late Thursday night to voluntarily dismiss the case.
New World Gold’s stock price movement, social media and press releases mirror similar activity identified by federal prosecutors and the SEC in the alleged fraud schemes Miller is charged in. It is not one of the seven companies named in the criminal and civil cases.
The company is purported to be in the business of mining. Its stock trades on the over-the-counter Pink market with a “No Information” warning.
The company has not made annual filings with the Florida Secretary of State since 2015, the Division of Corporations database shows. The company was just reinstated on June 4, according to the database, shortly after Miller claimed he was voted in as director of the company.
The stock traded at a little under a penny on Thursday, and its price is more than 8,000% higher than its 52-week low in December.
The company in several press releases this month said that it acquired a Wyoming mining business with access to gold and lithium, and that it identified properties in Nevada and South Dakota for possible mining. Lithium is a material used in batteries for personal electronics, as well as for electric vehicles.
While Miller claimed to have been voted in as director of New World Gold, the company lists an Ohio lawyer named Robert Honigford as its president and director in press releases, on social media and in the Florida Secretary of State business database.
CNBC received an error message when it attempted to contact New World Gold at the email address listed on the company’s press releases.
Miller did not respond to a phone call and voicemail from CNBC requesting comment.
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