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In an article entitled “Man accused in $78 million pump-and-dump scheme files B.C. court petition,” the Vancouver Sun shares developments in recent court filings made by British businessman, Kevin Miller against the Law Society of British Columbia. A 2015 US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint implicated Miller and others in artificially inflating stock prices and concealing illicit profits of a company called Jammin’ Java. Two years later, the SEC announced it had obtained a US $58 million judgment in the case, causing Miller to pay nearly US $1 million in a settlement. Miller entered into the settlement agreement without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations.

More recently, Miller has petitioned the BC Supreme Court, claiming he is entitled to nearly $3.5 million held in the trust accounts of the law practice of Ronald Norman Pelletier, which the Law Society currently has custodianship over. Pelletier is accused of using or permitting the use of his firm’s trust accounts to receive or disburse about CAD $24 million and US $5 million on behalf of one or more clients when he knew there was an investigation into securities fraud by the SEC. 

In April 2018, the Law Society obtained an order prohibiting Pelletier from operating a trust account until a disciplinary panel conducted a hearing into his alleged professional misconduct. The Law Society’s citation states that Pelletier engaged in activities that assisted or encouraged dishonesty, crime or fraud. A hearing was held earlier this year but a decision is still pending. Pelletier stopped practising law in 2018.

In his court filings, Miller argues that he is entitled to the return of money he claims he paid into Pelletier’s trust accounts for legal services, particularly given he reached a settlement with the SEC. “The SEC complaint against Mr. Miller has been entirely resolved,” says the petition. “There is no juristic reason for the (Law Society) to continue to withhold Mr. Miller’s trust funds.”