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by Mike Caswell
A judge in Indiana has ordered Vancouver-area resident Michael Skerry to travel to Seattle for a deposition, despite Mr. Skerry's fears that he could be detained or refused entry into the United States. The judge has found that his concerns are vague and unsubstantiated. The judge has also warned him that he could face fines or other civil penalties if he does not attend.
The order comes as part of a case in which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims that Mr. Skerry boosted a company called Success Holdings Group International Inc. in 2014. According to the SEC, he touted the company as a provider of health drinks and on-line movies while secretly selling shares. The stock went to $10.25 from $1, and was last at 10 cents. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.)
As part of the case, the SEC has been seeking many of the things that precede a trial, including a deposition with Mr. Skerry. Depositions, or pretrial interviews, are part of the normal course in many civil cases, and usually go ahead without any serious difficulty. They can, however, be problematic when the SEC requires a Canadian defendant to enter the United States. Such defendants are of course already facing the SEC's civil allegations. They are not automatically facing more serious criminal charges, but such charges can be sealed, hidden away until a defendant unknowingly travels across the border.
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