California marijuana business owner to plead guilty to bribery charges

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A marijuana businessman in California agreed to plead guilty to two felony charges tied to his companies, including a retail chain called Natural Healing Center.

According to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, Helios Raphael Dayspring was charged with one count of filing a false federal tax return and one count of bribery for paying a San Luis Obispo County supervisor $32,000 between 2016 and 2019 in exchange for favors.

In addition to Dayspring’s guilty pleas, he will pay $3.4 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors said.

Dayspring, who is scheduled for an Aug. 25 court hearing, could face up to 13 years in prison.

The former county supervisor Dayspring allegedly bribed – Adam Hill – committed suicide in August 2020.

Prosecutors also said that Dayspring tried to bribe a former mayor of Grover Beach in 2017, allegedly offering $100,000 in exchange for help securing marijuana retail permits in that city. The then-mayor, who was not identified, did not respond to Dayspring’s offer, prosecutors said.

Dayspring’s business footprint included upwards of 18 cannabis farms, all in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, according to The Tribune, as well as four retail stores. It’s unclear yet what will become of Dayspring’s businesses.