California Swindler Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Fraudulent Hemp Scheme

A California man who was once convicted and imprisoned for multiple scams dating back to 1988 recently pleaded guilty to hemp industry fraud costing investors more than $18 million.

Full story after the jump.

A California man on Friday pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in a hemp business fraud case that cost investors more than $18 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. Mark Roy Anderson, 69, was indicted last year in the scheme by a federal grand jury. 

In the federal complaint, prosecutors said Anderson used the money collected from investors for Harvest Farm Group to buy a $1.3 million property in Ojai and another $2.3 million on personal expenses, including more than $650,000 for vintage and luxury automobiles, $13,000 for chartered private jet flights, and $142,000 for other high-end merchandise.

Anderson has a history of scams dating back to 1988 when he swindled an individual to pay him $400,000 for a stake in a Beverly Hills office building that he falsely claimed to own. He scammed another individual out of $175,000 for an interest in a La Jolla building that he didn’t own. For those, and other financial crimes, Anderson pleaded guilty to grand theft and other charges and was sentenced to four years in prison. In the 1980s, Anderson also ran a Ponzi-style scheme to cheat investors in a scam where he claimed he was restoring historic buildings around the country and was ultimately sentenced to seven more years in prison for those crimes.

In November 2020, Anderson was released under three-year court supervision, with a probation condition that he not engage in investment projects; but by then, the hemp investment scheme was already in motion, according to federal prosecutors.

In the hemp scheme, Anderson claimed to own property, machinery, and equipment for hemp cultivation and processing. From 2021 to 2023, Anderson also solicited funds for two fake CBD companies.

Anderson must forfeit 15 cars and real estate in Ojai as part of the plea deal. He faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for each fraud count. He is expected to be sentenced in August.

Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe

Have an additional perspective to share? Send us a message to let us know, and if your comment is chosen by our editors it could be featured here.


Ganjapreneur is made possible by our partners:

Latest Cannabis News

View all news Get email updates

Featured Business Profiles

Create a profile View all categories

From Our Partners