The cannabis industry is lucrative, though it’s not shocking that there’s an overwhelming amount of ill-intentioned people who’ve attempted to bring illegal practices into the regulated market for a quick buck. Per MJBizDaily, a man from Florida is going to have to fork over a pretty penny to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after he was accused of using millions of dollars in investor money that was meant to acquire cannabis stores in Colorado to fund his extravagant lifestyle, including luxury cars and a six-figure expenses at an “adult entertainment facility.”
Florida businessman Steven L. Brickner was ordered to “disgorge” $2,423,229 of illegal profits in addition to another $186,306 in interest and another $390,094 for a civil fine. Federal Judge Steven Merryday in the U.S. Middle District of Florida passed down the ruling last week.
Brickner never admitted to or confirmed the allegations. Instead, he entered a consent agreement with the SEC ahead of establishing the repayment fees.
The SEC claims Brickner managed to scour up $5.5M from over 60 investors. Brickner allegedly promised the investors that they’d end up seeing massive returns through the lucrative cannabis industry in Colorado, where everything from pre-rolled cones to extracts is available for recreational use.
However, the SEC laid down their evidence claiming that Bricker had used over half of that money on himself. The SEC said that Brickner’s purchases with investor money included 11 classic and luxury cars, $465K in crypto, a personal loan to himself of $580K to pay off his mortgage, and $335K in expenses at a Tampa, FL “adult entertainment facility.”
Even though Brickner didn’t confirm nor deny the allegations, the consent agreement stipulated that he wouldn’t argue against violating SEC rules. The SEC court filing then revealed that Brickner attempted to push back against the motion which broke down the penalties he faced. Additionally, he apparently angered the SEC in a court filing while pushing “unsupported speculation, theories” surrounding his legal case.