The perpetrators of an “elaborate pump-and-dump” scheme have been banned by the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) and ordered to pay over $2.5 million in penalties and disgorgement.
The ASC banned two men, Cem (Jim) Can and Charles Michael Miller, and their company, Bluforest Inc., for breaching securities laws. It also ordered almost $1.5 million in disgorgement and a $750,000 penalty against Can. Miller was given a $300,000 penalty. They were also ordered to pay $130,000 in costs.
The sanctions follow a ruling by an ASC hearing panel last August, which found that Can and Miller engaged in fraudulent conduct, that Can illegally distributed securities and engaged in market manipulation. Bluforest was found to have made misrepresentations.
According to the panel’s decision on sanctions, “The backdrop to the merits decision was an elaborate pump and dump scheme involving Bluforest shares, orchestrated by Can and, to a lesser extent, Miller.”
In handing down its sanctions, the panel concluded that “the respondents unquestionably present a significant risk to the capital markets.” The panel also noted that fraud and market manipulation are “particularly abhorrent” forms of misconduct.
“Pump and dump schemes are a deplorable form of securities fraud,” said Cynthia Campbell, director of enforcement at the ASC, in a release. “The significant sanctions ordered against Can, Miller and Bluforest – including permanent bans – reflect the need to protect investors and our capital markets from these scoundrels.”