SEC Charges Managing Member of Timber Company with Offering Fraud

Litigation Release No. 25041 / March 2, 2021

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Renew Forestry Group, LLC et al., No. 1:21-cv-00081-SPB (W.D. Pa. filed March 1, 2021)

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Pennsylvania resident Brian A. Miller with fraudulently offering and selling at least $1.1 million of securities to approximately 36 investors through Miller's companies, Renew Forestry Group, LLC, Renew Development Group, LLLP, and Renew Holdings, LLC between February 2016 and August 2018.

According to the SEC's complaint, Miller and the three companies falsely claimed that Renew Forestry had about 1.9 million acres under its control, including timber and mineral rights. Contrary to these representations, Renew Forestry allegedly had approval to harvest timber on only 36,000 acres and had no mineral rights. The complaint also alleges that the defendants falsely projected investor profits ranging from 91% to 172% within one year, knowing those returns were not possible because Renew Forestry did not have the required permits and lacked the infrastructure and equipment necessary to even begin operations within the promised timeframe.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in Erie, Pennsylvania, charges Miller, Renew Forestry, Renew Development, and Renew Holdings with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The defendants have agreed to settle the charges against them and, without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, have consented to judgments enjoining them from violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws and ordering Miller to pay a civil penalty of $90,000. The settlements are subject to court approval.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Patricia A. Kuzma Trujillo and Jacquelyn D. King with the assistance of Julia C. Green, and was supervised by Kingdon Kase, Scott A. Thompson, and Kelly L. Gibson in the Philadelphia Regional Office. The litigation will be led by Ms. Green and supervised by Jennifer Chun Barry.