raising capital in accordance with rules
and regulations, and is “optimistic” the
issue can be resolved. 34
The thorough geological testing rebuttal
was expanded in later statements:
Peter Pocklington 1: 27 PM
We emphatically deny these allega-
tions by the Arizona Corporation
Commission. We have been conscien-
tious and thorough in our testing and
we have not told our investors anything
our data does not tell us.
Tests have been repeatedly done on
the sites we intend to mine. The results
were included in a report called a NI
43-101. It discloses all minerals poten-
tially present on any mining site and has
become a standard within the mining
industry. That testing was not flawed. 35
The above quotation is a sophisticated defense. NI 43-101 came into force in early
2001 and established Canadian standards
for all public disclosures a public securities
issuer makes of scientific and technical information concerning mineral properties/
Notwithstanding the protestations of in-
nocence and the NI 43-101 defenses, ACC
ordered former Scottsdale resident John M.
McNeil, Peter Pocklington and their affiliat-
ed companies to pay $5,149,316 in restitu-
tion and a $100,000 administrative penalty
for committing securities fraud. The order
was entered with the consent of the parties:
The Commission found that, while
not registered as securities salesmen or
dealers in Arizona, respondents McNeil,
Pocklington and their affiliated compa-
nies—Crystal Pistol Resources, LLC,
Crystal Pistol Management, LLC, and
Liberty Bell Resources I, LLC — told
at least 120 investors that they had
obtained mineral rights to a placer mine
outside of Quartzite, Arizona, and
would begin mining and processing
gold on the site within a short period of
time. The Commission found that the
respondents obtained at least some
investors by making unsolicited telephone
calls to them and that some investors
were taken to the mine site, which
was located on U.S. Bureau of Land
Management land. Additionally, the
Commission found that Crystal Pistol
prepared newsletters in which it claimed
to be offering one of the most lucrative
dividend plans in the mining business
and that hedge funds and banks were
interested in the project. The Commis-
sion found, however, that the estimates
of gold resources on the respondents’
website were not supportable with the
methods currently available in the
industry. In settling this matter, the
respondents neither admitted nor denied
the Commission’s findings, but agreed
to the entry of the consent order. 37
1. Kim A. McDonald, Many of
Mark Twain’s Famed Humorous
Sayings Are Found to Have
Been Misattributed to Him,
CHRON. OF HIGHER ED.,
Sept. 4, 1991, at A8.
2. Mining Scams–Circular No.
59, revised March 1997, Ariz.
Dep’t of Mines and Mineral
3. EARL ZARBIN, ALL THE TIME A
NEWSPAPER, PHOENIX: ARIZONA
REPUBLIC 45 (1990).
4. Ariz. Bureau of Land Management, Fast Facts, Feb. 26, 2001,
fastfact.htm ( 18 April 2001).
5. 30 U.S.C. § 21 et seq.
6. Albert J. Sitter, Rule 1 of Gold
Salting Art: Don’t Be Too Gene-
rous, ARIZ. REPUBLIC, Jan. 15,
8. Albert J. Sitter, Alleged Land
Grab Connected To Gold-Salting
Gyp Charge, ARIZ. REPUBLIC,
Jan. 11, 1968, at B1.
10. Albert J. Sitter, Gold Samples
Tailed Off, Witness Says, ARIZ.
REPUBLIC, Jan. 12, 1968.
11. U.S. Asks Return of ‘Gold-Salt’
Land, ARIZ. REPUBLIC, Sept.
12. United States v. Desert Gold
Mining Co., et al., 282 F.
Supp. 614 (D. Ariz. 1968).
13. Douglas Green, Gold-Cinder
Mine Under Scrutiny of Secu-
rities Division, LAS VEGAS BUS.
PRESS, vol. 6, no. 5.
15. A.R.S. § 27-251 et seq.
16. See Green, supra note 13.
17. MG Gold Corp. company
release, Nov. 13, 1997.
18. Company release, Dr. Alvin
Johnson Becomes Project
Manager for the Sinagua Pilot
Plant, June 11, 1999.
19. Arizona Corporation Commission, Mining Company Accused
of Fraud in Stock Promotion,
Commission News, March 1,
21. Arizona Corporation Commis-
sion, Mining Company Agrees
to Offer Refunds in Securities
Action, Commission News,
Dec. 20, 2001.
22. CDNX Suspends Birch Again,
NORTHERN MINER, March 19,
23. Arizona Corporation Commission, Commission Wraps
Up Cases Against Promoters
of ‘Five Years to Freedom’ Program and Platinum Mining
Fraud, Commission News,
Oct. 12, 2007.
24. Zina Moukheiber, Glitter, But
Not Gold, FORBES, June 16,
1997, at 46.
25. MG Gold Corporation company release, Dec. 15, 1997.
The Pocklington story does not end with
the ACC order of May 2013, 38 nor does the
continuing story support Pocklington’s
assertions of honorable motivation. Subsequent to that order, a California court sentenced Pocklington to six months in jail,
followed by six months of house arrest and
two more years of probation. The sentence
was imposed after the court found Pocklington guilty of violating terms of a prior
The prior conviction and probation occurred in 2010. At that time Pocklington
was sentenced to six months of house arrest
and two years of probation for perjury. This
first sentence occurred after Pocklington admitted to lying during bankruptcy proceedings. In exchange, charges of bankruptcy
fraud were dropped, and Pocklington also
was ordered to disclose his monthly income
to a probation officer.
Pocklington did not share details with his
probation officer about the millions of dollars of income over 2011 and 2012—money
he received as a gold mine consultant in the
Crystal Pistol affair. Thus, Pocklington was
sentenced in 2013 to further prison, house
arrest and probation time. 39
Mike Campa and the
Quartzsite Gold Mine
Dubious mining ventures are attractive
methods for experienced fraudulent scheme
operators. The operators are quite willing to
continue their schemes even after prior convictions and punishment. They also can be