May 24, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Beverly Hills Man Pleads Guilty to $18 Million Investment Scam

The Accused Admits to Defrauding Investors with False Claims

A Beverly Hills man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges for swindling investors out of over $18 million in a scheme involving false claims about his companies supposedly investing in hemp farms and cannabis-infused retail products, as well as a sham bottling business.

Mark Roy Anderson, 69, admitted guilt to two counts of wire fraud.

Court documents revealed that Anderson engaged in two separate schemes, deceiving victims shortly after his release from federal prison. He operated these schemes while on home confinement and later during supervised release for a prior fraud conviction.

In the first scheme, spanning from June 2020 to April 2021, Anderson duped investors into financing his company, Harvest Farm Group, which purported to harvest and process hemp into medical-grade cannabidiol (CBD) isolate for profit. He falsely claimed ownership of a hemp farm in Kern County, asserting successful harvests and production of CBD isolate and Delta 8.

Despite multiple prior fraud convictions, Anderson concealed his criminal history from investors. He stalled victim investors with false claims about product delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and promised returns from nonexistent sales.

In the second scheme, from April 2021 to May 2023, Anderson solicited funds for his sham companies, BioPharma and Verta Bottling, by fabricating claims of successful manufacturing and sales of CBD-infused products and beverages.

Anderson falsified legal and business documents and provided victims with fake product samples while misappropriating their funds for personal expenses.

Anderson has agreed to forfeit his ill-gotten gains, including luxury cars and real estate in Ojai.

He solicited over $18.8 million from 45 victims, resulting in losses exceeding $18 million. Sentencing is scheduled for August 23, with Anderson facing a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count.

The FBI is investigating the case. Prosecution is handled by Assistant United States Attorney Kerry L. Quinn of the Major Frauds Section.

in NEWS
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