J.T. Burnette, Husband Of Truelieve CEO, Guilty On Multiple Corruption Counts

J.T. Burnette, Husband Of Truelieve CEO, Guilty On Multiple Corruption Counts - Marijuana Packaging

The Florida-based multistate marijuana operator Trulieve won one of the state’s first five licenses. The company currently has 87 dispensaries in Florida, and controls half its smokable marijuana market. Truelieve is also in the process of acquiring Arizona-based Harvest Health & Recreation in a deal initially valued at $2.1 billion.

Unfortunately, the husband of Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, J.T. Burnette, has been convicted on one count of extortion, two counts of honest services mail fraud, one Travel Act violation, and lying to the government.

Burnette was caught on tape by undercover FBI agents boasting about working with then-state Rep. Halsey Beshears in 2014 to put “little tweaks” into the MMJ licensing criteria that would prevent certain competitors from qualifying. Burnette was recorded as saying that neither he nor Rivers knew much about the medical cannabis business at the time, but they knew a license would be lucrative.

During cross-examination, Burnette had maintained his innocence and downplayed the significance of the 2016 conversation. He believed the undercover FBI agents were real estate investors and would want to hear some boasting.

“The reality is I was kind of bragging about something that happened before my time,” Burnette said.

Jurors reached a verdict late Friday afternoon. Burnette faces maximum penalties of 20 years in prison on each of the extortion and fraud counts and five years on each Travel Act and making false statements count. His sentencing is set for Oct. 28.

“Our citizens deserve and expect that those in public office will act in the public’s interest, rather than their own and that of their confederates,” said acting U.S. Attorney Jason Coody. “Those who violate their oath and betray the public’s trust will be the subject of this office and our law enforcement partners’ unwavering efforts, which will continue beyond this verdict.”

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