The founder of California cannabis dispensary Natural Healing Center has pleaded guilty to bribery and filing a false tax return, KSBY reports. Helios Dayspring now faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison, three years of probation, a $500,000 fine, and could be forced to pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) $3.5 million in restitution.
In his July plea agreement, Dayspring admitted to bribing San Luis Obispo 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.
The Natural Healing Center was ultimately awarded a single dispensary license to open a retail dispensary in Grover Beach – the company’s first dispensary to open in the county. A second location opened in Morro Bay in April, the report says, with a third planned to open this month but officials ultimately terminated that agreement.
Hill tragically died of suicide in August 2020 and later that month, Dayspring stepped down as Natural Healing Center CEO “to devote his energy and attention to other personal avenues of opportunity.”
Dayspring is scheduled to be sentenced on February 11.
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