Former SLO County Cannabis Businessman Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Tax Evasion in Federal Court | Local News


Former San Luis Obispo County cannabis company owner Helios Dayspring pleaded guilty to federal charges on Friday, officially admitting his role in a bribery scheme and underreporting millions of dollars in taxes, according to US District Court records.

Helios Raphael “Bobby” Dayspring, founder and former majority owner of the Natural Healing Center, pleaded guilty on Friday to bribery and filing a false tax return.

Dayspring appeared in a videoconference hearing in the Central District of the United States District Court on Friday before Judge André Birotte Jr.

As part of its October 14 plea deal, signed by defense lawyer Sandra Brown-Bodner, Dayspring admitted to paying the late San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill in person $ 29,000 in cash payments not declared without “no one else present”.

“During this same period, the defendant also provided (Hill) cannabis products several times free of charge and paid for several meals for (Hill),” the agreement reads.

Dayspring provided the Supervisor with this “benefit stream” with the understanding that Hill would “vote on cannabis legislation for the benefit of his cannabis farms, advocate with other public officials in favor of cannabis legislation for the benefit of farmers. Dayspring farms and would disclose non-public information about the county regarding cannabis. problems, ”the document states.

In addition, Dayspring admitted to underreporting their individual taxable income between 2014 and 2018 by around $ 9 million, resulting in a tax loss of $ 3.4 million, according to the plea agreement.

Dayspring must work with the IRS to assess and repay these tax obligations during the five-year period of its recognized tax evasion, according to the advocacy file.

Dayspring must also cooperate with authorities to answer honestly “all questions that may be put to it, whether in interviews, before a grand jury, or in any trial or other legal process,” the document said.

Dayspring faces up to 13 years in federal prison and a $ 500,000 fine, or “double the gross gain or the gross loss resulting from the offenses, whichever is greater,” according to court records.

The court returns the case to the US Bureau of Probation and Investigation Services for investigation and reporting. Dayspring is set to be sentenced on February 11.

News of Dayspring’s guilty plea comes about a week after employees at the Natural Healing Center unsuccessfully lobbied the San Luis Obispo city council to overturn the decision by city staff to revoke the city’s permit. ‘NHC retail store operator and authorize the company to open a retail store at 2640 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo.

It would be the fourth location for NHC, which has retail stores in Morro Bay, Grover Beach and Lemoore.

On October 19, about 50 NHC employees held a rally in front of City Hall and spoke during public comments at a city council meeting that evening. Workers stressed that NHC is now majority-controlled, with Dayspring’s girlfriend, Valnette Garcia, controlling the company.

They argued that Garcia is not charged with committing any crime and that company employees would be injured if the store could not open in October as scheduled.

But the revocation of the permit was based on “misrepresentations and omissions made throughout the application and authorization process (NHC) with the city which were defined from the outset in our processes as automatic disqualification events” , Christine Dietrick, City of San Luis Obispo lawyer, said at the Oct. 19 council meeting.

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