The former owner of a California cannabis retailer has been charged in federal court with bribery and failing to report millions of dollars in income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), KSBY reports. Helios Raphael Dayspring, the founder of the Natural Healing Center, which has shops in Grover Beach and Morro Bay, has agreed to plead guilty to the felony charges, pay $3.4 million in restitution to the IRS, and cooperate with an ongoing investigation.
That ongoing investigation is reportedly part of an ongoing public corruption inquiry in San Luis Obispo County, which has been public since March 2020 when the Federal Bureau of Investigation served a search warrant at the county Government Center.
In the plea agreement, Dayspring admitted to bribing County Supervisor Adam Hill to support his cannabis businesses. Dayspring paid hill a total of $32,000 in exchange for votes favoring legislation that permitted Dayspring’s cannabis farms to operate before getting final approval. Dayspring also admitted to attempting to bribe the former Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals in 2017 in exchange for two dispensary licenses but Shoals did not accept the bribe.
Dayspring also admitted to underreporting his personal income on his federal tax returns—by more than $3.4 million—for four years. Once Dayspring officially pleads guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in federal custody.
Hill committed suicide in August 2020. Later that month, Dayspring stepped down as Natural Healing Center CEO “to devote his energy and attention to other personal avenues of opportunity.”
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