Con man busted for allegedly selling phony Apple stock

He’s simply a bad apple, authorities said.

Police hauled in career swindler Roger Miller, 67, of Menlo Park, on Tuesday for allegedly selling nearly $30,000 in fake Apple stock.

Miller, who was only weeks away from finishing a three-year probation sentence for a past con conviction, is now accused of duping a Menlo Park couple in their 50s into buying stocks that didn’t exist, cops said.

This is the same Miller who spent 18 months in prison for trying to sell a fake stake in the Golden State Warriors to a Florida man in 2002.

“That’s like saying, ‘Let me sell you the Golden Gate Bridge,’” San Mateo Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Miller, who has had numerous con convictions since 1990, knows how to spot vulnerable people and can “sell ice to Eskimos,” Wagstaffe said.

He’s alleged to have done it again this summer.

Miller allegedly convinced his latest victims to buy 404 shares from him at $37 per share, well below market price, Wagstaffe said. The price per share ranged between $180 and $292 during the last 52 weeks, Yahoo! Finance data showed.

The victims said they gave him $15,000 for the stock initially and an additional $11,000 for more shares. He asked to be paid via cashier’s checks, Wagstaffe said.

When the victims complained they had not received their stock certificates, Miller allegedly wrote them a $26,000 check from a non-existent bank account, authorities said.

One of the victims alerted cops, who arrested him at a strip mall in the city on Tuesday.

Miller pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday. Meanwhile, his three-year probation sentence stemming from a 2007 conviction for passing bad checks is set to expire in November, Wagstaffe said.

“The last crime was similar to this one,” Menlo Park police Sgt. Jaime Romero said.

Except the apparently “sweet-talking” Miller is accused of conning people living in his hometown and who could easily identify him.

“He’s so used to and accustomed to deceiving people that there isn’t anything that would prevent him from scamming,” Romero said.

In 2007, he was convicted of passing fraudulent checks to banks in Menlo Park and San Jose totaling $14,000. The judge was lenient and gave no jail time after the defense attorney noted that Miller had recently suffered a stroke and had been doing volunteer work with sick children and seniors at Peninsula organizations.

Miller still walks with a cane.

His past convictions were for false statements on a loan application in 1990; for passing a bad $57,000 check to the co-owner of his previous business in 1992; for federal mail fraud in 2001; and for a petty theft conviction in Palo Alto in 2004.

Due to his troubled past, Miller could face seven to nine years in prison if he is convicted on the latest charges.

Miller remains in custody on $150,000 bail. A preliminary hearing will be held Oct. 6, Wagstaffe said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Bay City News contributed to this report

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