Western Sierra Resource Corporation, Roger Johnson, and Dennis Atkins

Litigation Release No. 26032 / June 18, 2024

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Western Sierra Resource Corporation, Roger Johnson, and Dennis Atkins, No. 1:24-cv-01705 (D. Colo. filed June 18, 2024)

SEC Charges Colorado Mining Company and its Executives with Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed charges against Colorado-based penny-stock issuer Western Sierra Resource Corporation, its Chief Executive Officer Roger Johnson, and its Chief Financial Officer Dennis Atkins for issuing false and misleading statements concerning Western Sierra's alleged purchase of gold mining claims worth billions of dollars.

The SEC's complaint alleges that for over two years, from June 2021 through at least October 2023, Western Sierra, Johnson, and Atkins made materially false and misleading statements concerning the acquisition of certain gold mining rights in multiple press releases; quarterly and annual submissions filed with the trading platform Over-the-Counter Markets; and on Western Sierra's website. According to the complaint, Western Sierra, through Johnson and Atkins, claimed it had paid $10 million for an interest in a company that purportedly owned more than 640 acres of Bureau of Land Management mining claims within the State of Nevada. In fact, the complaint alleges, Western Sierra did not pay $10 million for these purported mining claims and indeed did not own any mining claims at all.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Denver, Colorado, charges Western Sierra, Johnson, and Atkins with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5(b) thereunder. The SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief as well as civil penalties as to all defendants, and officer-and-director and penny-stock bars as to Johnson and Atkins.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Abigail Edwards and supervised by Kimberly Frederick, Nicholas Heinke, and Jason Burt, all of the Denver Regional Office. William Connolly of the Enforcement Division's Office of Investigative and Market Analytics assisted with the investigation. The litigation will be led by Jodanna Haskins and supervised by Gregory Kasper, Mr. Heinke, and Mr. Burt.

Last Reviewed or Updated: June 18, 2024