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by Mike Caswell
Vancouver's Robert Hillis Miller, fresh off a trial loss against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, will soon have to find himself a new U.S. lawyer. Florida attorney Barry Roberts has asked for permission to withdraw from Mr. Miller's case, saying that Mr. Miller has repeatedly failed to pay legal fees and has been difficult to locate, moving from address to address in Vancouver. He says that it is not likely he will ever collect outstanding fees from Mr. Miller.
The request comes as part of a case in which the SEC cited Mr. Miller for a $1.39-million scheme with Abakan Inc., a purported metals coating company listed on the OTC Markets. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The SEC claimed that Mr. Miller failed to disclose shares that he held through front companies in Uruguay. Those front companies sold the stock in what the SEC said was an unregistered offering.
The only matter remaining in the case is Mr. Miller's penalties, a Maryland jury having found him liable for the scheme after an eight-day trial in June, 2023. The next step is for the SEC and Mr. Miller to make submissions to the judge on the size of those penalties. When it filed the case, the SEC sought a fine, disgorgement of gains (which it calculated to be $1.39-million), and an officer and director ban. Mr. Miller, assuming he can find a new lawyer, will presumably argue for a lesser amount.
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