The girls around Robert Miller
Robert G. Miller, a reclusive Quebec billionaire and founder of an electronics parts distributor, allegedly paid several young girls large sums of money in exchange for sexual favours for more than a decade. Miller denies all allegations.
WARNING: This story contains graphic content some readers may find disturbing.
Sophie remembers having to hide her newfound fortune from her parents.
“You don’t make $1,000 delivering newspapers,” she says. “I couldn’t bring that money home and say, ‘Here mom, you can pay off your mortgage now.’”
She knew her parents wouldn’t approve of her new source of income. At only 14, she had been recruited to have sex with a man 40 years her senior, a wealthy businessman who said his name was Bob.
She says their first encounter was at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, in the late 1990s.
“We had sexual intercourse. He didn’t wear a condom. It was really disgusting,” she says. “I just closed my eyes and tried to think of something else.”
She says she was accompanied by the friend who recruited her, also a minor.
For nearly a year, Radio-Canada’s Enquête has been investigating the story of “Bob Adams,” the pseudonym Robert G. Miller allegedly used with most of the young women who say they had sexual relations with him.
The founder of Future Electronics, a worldwide distributor of electronic parts, Miller is one of Quebec’s richest businessmen. He’s also among the most elusive. He rarely gives interviews, and photos of him are hard to come by. His low profile has its perks, since many women say it took them years to find out the true identity of the rich older man who recruited them for sex.
- WATCH “The girls around Robert G. Miller” on The Fifth Estate on CBC-TV Thursday at 9 p.m. or stream any time on CBC Gem.
Of the 10 women who told us their stories, six were minors when they say they were paid to have sex with Miller. All of them described similar encounters, with rewards that included envelopes of cash, exotic trips and hockey bags full of gifts.
According to these women, this was part of a sophisticated scheme that sources say recruited numerous young women and girls, from 1994 to at least 2006.
A lawyer representing the 79-year old billionaire sent CBC/Radio-Canada a letter saying these allegations are “false and vigorously contested.” He adds that his client, who is in the final stages of Parkinson’s disease, is too sick to grant CBC an interview.
None of the women agreed to be identified, for fear of the consequences. We also agreed to protect their identity because they were minors at the time of the alleged events. The women quoted in this story have been given pseudonyms.
A mysterious billionaire
If you’ve never heard of Robert G. Miller, that’s because the billionaire has made considerable efforts to protect his privacy.
He travels in two private jets, but their trips have been hidden on most public flight trackers.
On Google Street View, his luxurious Westmount house has been blurred.
Born in Montreal in 1943, Miller founded Future Electronics when he was 25. He has since grown the business into one of the world’s largest suppliers of electronic components, with 5,500 employees and branches in 44 countries. According to Forbes, he’s worth close to $2 billion US.
Within the company, the businessman is considered a visionary. “Our most valuable intellectual property is Robert Miller’s brain,” one of the company’s vice-presidents told reporters in 2010.
The businessman has tried to extend the life of this valuable asset. An article published in 2014 says Miller was passionate about cryonics, and had invested in this technology, which claims to be able to preserve bodies in liquid nitrogen.
‘He liked them young, young, young’
Jane, now in her 40s, believes she was one of the first young girls to meet with Miller, in the mid-1990s.
At the time, Jane was a 17-year-old runaway desperate for cash. She responded to a classified ad in the back pages of a newspaper, hoping to make a few dollars.
“I knew what was going to happen, I knew I was going to be ‘pulling a trick.’”
She says the ad had been placed by a middle-aged man named Raymond Poulet, who recruited girls for a clientèle that included Robert Miller.
Jane says Poulet convinced her to meet Miller in a Montreal hotel room, where the billionaire made her undress and pose for photos. For this, she was paid $1,000.
“In the late ’90s, $1,000 for a few hours was a lot of money. It still is,” she says. When she turned 18, she says she had a second sexual encounter with Miller, in the company of another young girl.
While Jane didn’t sleep with the billionaire again, she was sucked into his orbit, helping him recruit other women. She says she saw Poulet bring many other young women to visit the businessman. She believes the youngest, another teen runaway, was only 14 years old, “a 14-year-old with little curls and a baby face.”
According to Jane and many of the women, Miller was never violent or aggressive, but obsessed with youth and novelty.
“Robert didn’t like to sleep with the same girls for very long. He needed a variety,” says Jane. “Each girl had an expiration date.”
Julia, who was recruited into Miller’s network when she was 17, echoes this take.
“He liked them young, young, young,” Julia says. In the early 2000s, she says many of her friends and schoolmates met the businessman for sex while they were underage.
“He liked the youngest girls possible, with nice thin bodies,” she says. “Really more the ‘little girl’ types.”
When Samantha ended up in Miller’s hotel suite, she was 15. She’d also been brought in by Poulet.
At first, she says, Miller sat her down and spent an hour showing her photos of a naked young woman. Then he took her into the bathroom for a bath. “He started washing me everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, even my genitals. And after, he said: ‘You’re going to wash me,’‘’ she says. “He washed me while inserting his finger inside me.”
When they stepped out of the tub, she says Miller tried to get her into bed. At this point, Samantha panicked and asked to leave. The businessman gave her $1,500, half of which went to Poulet.
Thirty years later, Samantha is still shaken by the experience.
“Was it really worth it for that money?” she says. “I’ve had to live with those memories my whole life. You’re ashamed, and you end up never telling anyone.”
Sophie describes a similar feeling: “Who can you tell, especially at that age,” she says. “I wasn’t about to go see my mother like: ‘Hey mom, I really don’t feel well, I slept with an old man for money, can you help me?’
“I got myself in that position,” she adds. “At the time, at 14, I didn’t have the maturity or the knowledge to be able to get up and leave.”
Sophie says her young age made her incredibly vulnerable to Miller’s manipulation tactics.
She describes how the businessman would brag about being friends with celebrities and models and say that he had helped their careers.
“He knew I was modelling and said he was going to help me become a supermodel.”
She says she believed he was her friend and that he would take care of her. But her new mentor had needs: “He said I could make more money, that I could bring him new girls instead.”
Sophie estimates she brought him about 10 of her girlfriends, other underaged teens she recruited at her high school.
“At one point he even asked me to bring him someone who had never had sex,” she says. “I said: ‘Forget it.’”
Many of the girls told Radio-Canada that recruiting others meant they’d be off the hook for sex with the older man.
“When we brought other girls, they were the ones he would sleep with, not the person who brought them,” says Sophie. “That’s a big part of the guilt I’ve been living with, that I dragged other people into this.”
The ‘f--k tub’
Montreal’s Intercontinental Hotel was allegedly, for a period in the late 1990s, the main location of Miller’s sexual encounters.
His exploits didn’t go unnoticed. Several staff members told Radio-Canada that the billionaire had a room he reserved year-round.
Former Intercontinental employees say he would come to the hotel, spend a few hours receiving visitors, and then leave without ever spending the night. He also had the room renovated on his own dime, adding a massive bathtub to the washroom.
“We called it the f—k tub,” says Donna Loupret, the hotel’s former director of security.
In a written statement to Radio-Canada, Miller’s lawyer says the billionaire rented the room because he needed a calm place to work and rest, and that the bath was changed to accommodate a handicap caused by his illness.
But according to Loupret, staff had begun to notice the parade of women visiting Miller, and they believed the bath had been remodelled to hold more than one person.
“Mr. Miller had a lot of visitors, a lot of very young ladies,” she says. “My team that worked at night would report to me, because that was their responsibility to do that, and this young man said to me, ‘Donna, it’s terrible. These girls are so young.’”
As she paid more attention to the billionaire’s visits, she noticed that a man named Raymond Poulet would often occupy a suite on the same floor. She says the girls would visit Poulet’s room first before heading to Miller’s suite.
Her staff began to keep a closer eye on these visitors, creating tensions that culminated in Miller calling Loupret directly.
As he complained that hotel staff had been harassing his “man,” Raymond Poulet, Loupret says she interrupted him with a question: “By the way, Mr. Miller, aren’t those girls awfully young?”
The businessman reportedly told her the young women were his nieces. “Your nieces? You got a hell of a lot of nieces,” Loupret remembers saying. “Then he hung up.”
Despite staff’s concerns, Loupret says she wasn’t able to push the case any further. The young women coming to the hotel never complained about Miller.
“I was just hoping that one of the girls would be crying or something so I could say, ‘Can I help you,’ just anything.”
The ‘guest house’
In the early 2000s, Miller seems to have transferred his activities to 380 Olivier Ave., a large brick house in Montreal’s wealthy Westmount neighbourhood.
While the businessman didn’t live there, he often used it to welcome guests.
The women Radio-Canada spoke to all describe similar experiences: a first stop in the main floor living room, where Miller offered them alcohol and asked questions about their lives.
Julia remembers this ritual well. “First you had a glass of something, he asked if you wanted to eat anything,” she says. “But he wanted to talk, talk, talk.”
The billionaire asked them about school and wanted to learn about their dreams and ambitions.
In return, he offered very little reliable information about himself. He bragged about writing politicians’ speeches and said he knew many celebrities. Some told us they believed the man they called Bob Adams owned a radio station in California, a claim bolstered by a room full of compact discs he kept in the basement. “He really loved Céline Dion,” says Jane. “He would give us Céline Dion CDs.”
After the conversations, Miller invariably took the girls into the basement. Here, he presented them with a veritable treasure trove of gifts, like diamond jewelry, Victoria’s Secret clothing and designer handbags.
“It was like a store for us,” says Julia, adding that the billionaire seemed to buy things in bulk.
“Sometimes, you’d see girls at school, and without asking them you would know they were seeing Bob because they were wearing the same jewelry as you.”
Julia describes a bathroom reserved for the girls’ use, in which they were invited to wash and shave. “Once we were ready, we’d go see him in our bathrobes,” she says, adding that the billionaire liked seeing two girls at a time.
“Being two, we’d have this mutual encouragement that gave us more strength to do it,” she says. “It all went relatively quickly.”
After sex, the girls say Miller took out envelopes of cash he’d prepared in advance, anywhere between $1,500 to $4,000.
The whole ordeal was over in less than two hours, but for many, the impact was long-lasting.
Some women told us they lived a type of Stockholm Syndrome, becoming convinced that Miller was their friend, a well-meaning benefactor. This was particularly true for some of his favourites, who were allegedly treated with all-expenses paid international trips, luxury shopping sprees and limo rides.
Despite these perks – or perhaps because of them – many girls report feeling isolated and trapped.
“You become stuck,” says Julia. “It’s hard to get out of that world because you’ve become used to easy money. Going to work after, back then it was $10 an hour, that wasn’t easy.”
Julia says many of the girls she knew back then ditched their post-secondary ambitions to go into sex work, others fell into drug use.
“Things went badly for several of them,” she says.
When Miller would stop calling them back, some girls told us they felt abandoned.
Sophie managed to get her life back on track, but says her youth was destroyed by her experiences with Miller.
“I bought drugs, a lot of alcohol. I gave my money away,” she says. “I lost my dignity.”
To put his system in place, Miller surrounded himself with men he seemingly paid to organize and conceal his illicit activities. This group included several men with direct ties to Future Electronics.
Like Sam Joseph Abrams, who worked with Miller and Future Electronics for more than 50 years.
According to LinkedIn, he is currently one of the company’s executive vice-presidents.
However, sources tell us Abrams also organized his boss’s extracurricular activities: renting hotel rooms, vetting newly recruited girls, organizing trips and handing out payments. The girls tell us they knew him by his middle name, Joseph, and believed he was Miller’s secretary.
On LinkedIn, Poulet claims he is also employed by Future Electronics, as Miller’s private adviser. When our reporters contacted Future to speak with Poulet, the receptionist said no one by that name appeared in the company directory.
“They were really smart because there was always a middleman,” says Jane.
“Raymond Poulet picked up the young girls and presented them to Joseph, who was the middleman, never Miller. And Joseph, he’s going to be able to say that Miller didn’t know the girls were minor.”
Yet the women all agree that Miller was absolutely aware of their young age.
“Miller knew the recruitment was being done in a high school,” says Jane.
“He was aware of this, it was a frequent topic of discussion.”
In Quebec, students usually graduate high school at age 17 to attend CEGEP, a post-secondary education program.
“So if this was happening in high schools, they’re most certainly minors,” says Jane.
Enquête contacted Abrams and Poulet with these allegations. Both declined our interview requests, with Poulet specifying that he “didn’t know what we were talking about.”
$300K to ‘give us what you got’
In 2006, private investigator John Westlake says he was hired by Miller’s ex-wife, who suspected her former spouse of sexual misconduct involving minors.
Westlake set up a surveillance operation.
A veteran police officer who spent the majority of his career working in units investigating organized crime and gangs, the detective thought he’d seen it all.
“After three or four days, myself and my team, we were amazed at what was going on,” he says.
For 21 days, they observed a parade of young girls going in and out of the house at 380 Olivier Ave. in Westmount, often exiting with hockey bags.
“We were concerned that there were some young girls. When I say young, I mean, 16, 17, 15 years old,” he says. His team managed to identify a few of the young women, including one minor, a 17-year-old.
But the billionaire eventually learned about their investigation and sent his security team, a company named the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), to question Westlake. Miller’s men, a private investigator named Terence Corcoran and an ex-police officer named Stephen Roberts, asked Westlake to tell them about his findings.
When Westlake refused, the two men came back with another proposition.
“Stephen Roberts said: ‘We’ll give you $300,000 to stop doing the investigation. Give us what you got,’” Westlake says.
He adds that he and his partner headed straight to the police station to report this incident.
In response to CBC’s questions, a lawyer representing Roberts and Corcoran — and NCIS — wrote that his clients vigorously deny these allegations, which he said were false and unfounded. Over the phone, Roberts denied ever offering money to Westlake.
A police investigation, but no charges
In May 2009, years after she had left the Intercontinental, Loupret was contacted by Montreal police’s child sexual exploitation unit, which was investigating Miller.
She says the team recorded her deposition: “I said, ‘Oh, now, now it’s going to stop.”
That November, the same police unit executed a search warrant at the Future Electronics headquarters.
Sources say the warrant actually targeted the offices of NCIS, which is owned by Corcoran and located in the same building. The details of this warrant are sealed.
Police took photos of Miller and members of his entourage, which our reporters obtained.
They feature Roberts and Corcoran, along with Poulet and Abrams.
According to sources with knowledge of the case, this was part of a seldom-used police tactic that aims to help victims identify perpetrators whose true identities they may not know.
Montreal police declined to comment on this investigation. But sources tell us they met more than 10 victims in the course of their investigation.
Sophie, who first slept with the billionaire at age 14 and also brought him other girls, was among those questioned. She says she felt forced to participate.
“They wanted me to tell them about Bob and everything, or else they said they would arrest me for running a youth prostitution ring.”
By then, Sophie was in her mid-20s and had an established career. She has turned her life around, and she’s reluctant to revisit this painful period of her life.
She describes an intimidating meeting with police, in which she says she was made to feel like a criminal.
“They said my age back then didn’t matter, that I’d be tried as an adult with an adult sentence,” she says. “I was completely flabbergasted.”
“They almost treated us like criminals,” says Jane, who was also involved in the investigation.
“They took our fingerprints, our photos from the side, from the front. When you act like that with victims, it’s super intimidating.”
Jane faced another form of intimidation. She says that Miller hired a lawyer to accompany many of the girls during their meetings with police. Confidential sources confirm this lawyer was present during many of the victim interviews.
“His role, if you ask me, was to ensure we didn’t talk,” Jane says, adding that she refused to co-operate.
On her end, Sophie says she revealed everything, even agreeing to testify in court, if necessary, but it wasn’t enough.
Montreal police closed the investigation in 2010. No charges were ever laid.
CBC/Radio-Canada contacted Montreal police to learn more about the investigation and its outcome.
A spokesperson told us the police force would be unable to offer comment and declined our interview request.
The Director of Criminal or Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) also declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality reasons. However, they say any person with new information on this file is welcome to contact police
Robert G. Miller denies everything
In a letter to Radio-Canada, Miller’s lawyer says the allegations are false and malicious. He says his client has never had sexual relations with a person below the age of consent which, at the time of the alleged events, was 14.
Yet the Criminal Code is clear on the matter: when sexual contact with a minor is paid for, consent is void and the act is considered illegal.
Miller’s attorney went on to say his client has been impotent for more than 20 years.
He included with this statement two notes from a neurologist, who says he’s known Miller since 1996 and that the billionaire suffers from very severe erectile difficulties, caused by his Parkinson’s disease.
Loupret, the former director of security at the Intercontinental Hotel, says this story has haunted her for years.
“All the information, all the proof, all the stuff that everybody investigated and nothing happens,” she says. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Westlake says that while he found a way to cope with many of the crimes he investigated in his years as a police officer, this case has had a lasting impact.
“It doesn’t leave you for a long time,” he says. “It never left me or my friends.”
Because of how she was treated by police, Sophie says she doesn’t intend to collaborate with police if the investigation is reopened.
On her end, Jane hopes that sharing her experiences will help give courage to other women who until now have been afraid to talk.
“Speak out, speak out. File a complaint. His name is Robert Miller. ‘Bob’ is Robert Miller.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, help is available through Endingviolencecanada.org.
Free and confidential one-on-one mental health support from professionals is available 24/7 from Wellness Together Canada by calling 1-866-585-0445 or texting WELLNESS to 686868 for youth and 741741 for adults.
If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, call 911.