Miller Energy COO resigns following SEC charges

David M. Hall, COO of Miller Energy Resources Inc., has resigned. The management change comes on the heels of charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission related to an alleged overstatement of oil and gas properties the company acquired in Alaska in 2009.

Specifically, the SEC alleges that Miller Energy Resources Inc., its former CFO, Paul W. Boyd, and its current COO, David M. Hall, inflated values of oil and gas properties, resulting in fraudulent financial reports for the Tennessee-based company. Boyd joined Miller in 2008 and left Miller in 2011. The audit team leader at the company's former independent auditor, Carlton W. Vogt III, also was charged in the matter.

"In light of the Commission's allegations and the interference they would cause in performing his duties, Mr. Hall yesterday resigned as the Company's Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Boyd had previously left Miller Energy. The Company has named Mr. Leland E. Tate as its Interim Chief Operating Officer," the company said in a statement. Tate, who once served as president of deepwater Gulf of Mexico operator ATP, served Miller Energy Resources as senior vice president of operations.

In its statement announcing Hall's resignation, Miller Energy Resources acknowledged the allegations. While the company "believes the action is not warranted by the facts or the law," it is taking the allegations seriously, it said, noting that the company is "working with the company's board of directors to effect appropriate actions" and has "cooperated in all aspects" of the inquiry. Further, the company plans to voice objection over the Commission's election to file its proceeding before an administrative law judge employed by the Commission. The company would prefer "that the issues raised over the now five-year old valuation be heard in the more neutral forum of the federal courts."

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