Two convicted in cannabis bank fraud case sentenced to prison

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Two businessmen convicted in March of committing bank fraud related to payments made to California-based marijuana delivery giant Eaze were sentenced to prison by a New York district judge.

According to Law360, Hamid Akhavan and Ruben Weigand were sentenced to 30 months and 15 months in prison, respectively, for tricking banks into processing more than $150 million in credit card payments for Eaze.

As part of the sentencing, Akhavan was ordered to surrender $17 million and fined $100,000. Weigand was fined $50,000 and agreed to forfeit $300,000.

The sentences were far below what federal prosecutors had recommended to the judge overseeing the case.

U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services guidelines suggested life imprisonment for Akhavan and a prison term of 19½ years to 24½ years for Weigand, Law360 reported, but prosecutors requested lesser sentences.

Akhavan and Weigand orchestrated the fraud from 2016 to 2019 on behalf of Eaze by disguising the charges to banks in the form of fake websites and dummy corporations.

Former Eaze CEO James Patterson pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in the case earlier this year.

But Eaze was not charged or found to be at fault during the investigation.