Ex-Eaze CEO pleads responsible in $100 million marijuana payment scheme

The former CEO of California cannabis shipping and delivery platform Eaze pleaded responsible to a single count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with an alleged plan to deceive banking institutions into processing additional than $100 million really worth of credit score and debit payments for marijuana buys.

James Patterson’s plea, claimed Friday by Law360.com, arrives a week ahead of a scheduled March 1 conspiracy-to-lender-fraud demo of businessmen Ruben Weigand and Hamid Akhavan in the Southern District of New York federal court docket.

This sort of pretrial pleas generally are an indication that the person is cooperating with prosecutors and could testify from other defendants in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Patterson admitted to operating with Weigand and Akhavan to disguise the purchases simply because he “understood that if banking companies were informed of the character of the transactions they would not let them,” Legislation360.com claimed.

A March 2020 indictment alleged that Weigand and Akhavan established phony on the internet merchants that marketed carbonated drinks, green tea, encounter lotions and other items to disguise marijuana payments among 2016 and 2019, hence circumventing cannabis banking constraints.

The allegations had been comparable to a lawsuit submitted in a point out court in California against Eaze by a competitor in 2019. That case was dismissed and, according to Regulation360.com, despatched to mediation.

Patterson’s attorney did not quickly answer to an email from Marijuana Organization Every day on Monday seeking comment.

For its aspect, Eaze denied the allegations in the 2019 lawsuit and, last week, said it had cooperated with federal authorities and “is not a defendant in” the scenario against Patterson.

Patterson resigned from Eaze in 2019.