SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Perpetrator of Multi-Million Dollar Offering Fraud

Litigation Release No. 24604 / September 20, 2019

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Earl D. Miller, et a, , 3:15-cv-519-JVB-MGG (N.D. Ind.) filed November 5, 2015

On September 12, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana entered a Final Judgment against defendant Earl Miller in SEC v. Miller, 3:15-cv-519-JVB-MGG (N.D. Ind.), ordering him to pay over $5.2 million for defrauding investors in two private funds he created and which purportedly invested in residential real estate and unspecified "green products." In raising money for his private funds, Miller - then based in Mishawaka, Indiana - touted his Amish heritage to raise money from the Indiana and Michigan Amish community and encouraged his victims to invest their retirement savings in his funds.

On November 5, 2015, the SEC filed a Complaint against Miller, charging him with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933. The SEC alleged that, while Miller promised he would not be paid for managing the funds, he took over $1.1 million of investor money to pay himself and to buy out his former business partner. The SEC further alleged that Miller lied to investors about the nature of their investments and purported safeguards, which he never implemented. When Miller's investments failed, his funds collapsed and 72 investors lost over $4.1 million. On August 10, 2017, the Court entered a default judgment against Miller for his repeated failures to comply with discovery orders.

Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen granted the SEC's motion for remedies in full and entered a final judgment permanently enjoining Miller from future violations of the antifraud provisions of federal securities law, ordering Miller to pay $4,141,133 in disgorgement plus $799,597 in prejudgment interest, and imposing a civil penalty of $320,000.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Jaclyn Janssen and Delia Helpingstine of the Chicago Regional Office, and was supervised by Amy Cotter. Timothy Leiman, Doressia Hutton, and Angela Dodd lead the litigation.