Cannabis Grower Sentenced to Nearly 2 Years for Bribery and Tax Evasion

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Source: Department of Justice

A San Luis Obispo man was sentenced [Friday] to 22 months in federal prison for paying a county supervisor approximately $32,000 in bribes – most of them in cash – in exchange for the supervisor’s votes and influence on other votes affecting his cannabis business interests.

Helios Raphael Dayspring, a.k.a. “Bobby Dayspring,” 36, was sentenced by United States District Judge André Birotte Jr. Dayspring has paid the restitution order of $3,438,793 to the IRS in this case.

In October 2021, Dayspring pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of subscribing to a false income tax return.

Dayspring owned, operated, and had a controlling interest in multiple farms that grew cannabis in San Luis Obispo County. He also had ownership interests in businesses that sold marijuana to the public, including in Grover Beach. To further his interests in the farms that grew cannabis in San Luis Obispo County, Dayspring began paying bribes to a San Luis Obispo County supervisor in the fall of 2016 and continued doing so through November 2019.

In total, Dayspring paid the late Third District supervisor multiple bribes in cash and money orders totaling $32,000. In exchange, the supervisor voted on matters affecting Dayspring’s farms, including voting multiple times in favor of legislation that permitted Dayspring’s farms to operate before it had obtained final permitting approvals.

In addition to bribing the San Luis Obispo County supervisor, Dayspring attempted to bribe the then-mayor of Grover Beach in exchange for two dispensary licenses in that city. The attempted $100,000 bribe took place during a dinner meeting in September 2017. The mayor did not respond to the offer, and Dayspring did not end up paying the bribe.

Dayspring also substantially underreported his personal income on his federal tax returns for the years 2014 through 2018, which resulted in the IRS losing more than $3.4 million in tax revenue. For example, for the tax year 2018, Dayspring falsely reported his taxable income as $1,262,894, when in fact his income was greater than $6.5 million.

Dayspring “had one goal: build a cannabis empire,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “To accomplish that goal, he would not let anything get in his way, including the law.”

The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Thomas F. Rybarczyk of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section prosecuted this case.

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edney May 28, 2022 06:08 PM
Cannabis Grower Sentenced to Nearly 2 Years for Bribery and Tax Evasion

The current ratio of illegal cannabis sales in CA is 66% vs legal cannabis 33%. If the government wants legal growers to outcompete illegal growers they cannot put all of these taxes and regulations on the legal growers at this point in time.
They need to crack down on the non-taxpaying illegal grow sellers and simultaneously relieve legal growers of the 17.5% tax for a period.

What Dayspring was doing was supplementing legal cannabis with illegal cannabis. He profited $1.2M buying and selling legal cannabis, but profited $5M on illegal cannabis and had to hide that income.

I know this will get downvoted but government needs to learn a lesson here. When government is trying to help launch a legal enterprise that will pay taxes that is competing with a deeply entrenched black market you cannot over tax upfront.

Look at it this way. Many people in SB have housekeepers and gardeners that work for cash or personal check. No state, federal or SS, Workers Comp paid by the homeowners and in return for the cash, the black market housekeepers, gardeners charge a rate that is a bit below a legal business's break even costs.
Every time there is another charge the state puts on a legal cannabis grower, the illegal grower gets a free price increase. If a legal grower gets a 10% higher tax, the illegal grower gets to raise the price 5% which is 100% pure profit for doing nothing but tracking a government regulatory tax.

Another way to look at it would be that every time you buy black market cannabis, you are stealing 17.5% from our local tax revenue intentionally because you know full and well illegal cannabis dealers do not pay taxes. Additionally your dealer is not paying the 13% state tax, Social Security tax, or 20-40% Federal tax on their earnings. You are knowingly facilitating a tax cheater

dennispgerman May 29, 2022 02:04 PM
Cannabis Grower Sentenced to Nearly 2 Years for Bribery and Tax Evasion

Same here in WA; the laws seem to be designed to propagate a black market . . . worse yet, leadership is liberal enough to allow something, but too right or left wing to not want to control it with a heavy hand . . . they each have their "good" reasons . . .

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