Portland MMJ Dispensary Faces Unprecedented Fraud Investigation

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Oregon officials are investigating the owner of an Oregon medical marijuana dispensary and a California consulting firm she used, exploring the possibility that investors in the MMJ business were defrauded.

Trisha Siler, CEO of the Cannacea dispensary which was opened last fall in Portland, denies any wrongdoing, and instead blames a former contract consultant at Green Rush Consulting in Oakland for the misdeeds, according to the Oregonian.

A key component in the case is a fake 2014 letter purportedly from Oregon state regulators to Siler, informing her that she had been awarded seven dispensary licenses. Siler used the letter to solicit money from investors, including one who loaned her $168,000. She received money from at least four investors.

Siler, however, denies writing the letter, and said her adviser at Green Rush concocted the letter and other materials about the company based on answers to questions she was asked. Green Rush’s attorney said the company is cooperating with investigators.

According to the Oregonian, the Green Rush contract consultant who worked with Siler has a criminal history that includes fraud convictions. He is back in federal prison and has denied writing the letter.

In a statement Tuesday, Green Rush said it was “also a victim of Ms. Siler’s fraud.”

“(Green Rush) made a mistake in that it was not robust enough in conducting strong due diligence on both contractor and client. (Green Rush) has paid dearly for those failures,” the company statement read. “When the investigation is complete, we are confident that our credibility and reputation will be intact.”

There are a various possible outcomes to the investigation. The state could impose a fine or conclude that nothing wrong occurred. The parties could negotiate a resolution, which often involves paying a fine. Or the case could go before an administrative law judge.