Eaze Technologies Inc. launched in 2014 and backed with $166 million in funding. Eaze is the “Uber” of weed delivery and based in the city of San Francisco. Ex-CEO James Patterson resigned from the company in 2019, around the same time two $5,000 campaign contributions were delivered to “Elevate Compton” to pay for campaign expenditures presumably related to Mayor Aja Brown’s political projects.
“I am against marijuana legalization in the city of compton,” said Brown, during an interview with Huffington Post.
“Elevate Compton” used the funds to pay multiple supporters of Brown, and her mayoral candidate Christian Reynaga, who regularly “go live” on Facebook to spout their unwavering support of Reynaga.
“Elevate Compton” now known as “Compton Strong 2021” gave an in-kind campaign contribution of $3850 in “canvassing” services to Reynaga’s campaign.
Reynaga continues to ignore requests for comments on his relation to the cannabis industry. Prior to entering the mayoral race, Reynaga received funds from “Elevate Compton” as a campaign worker.
City Clerk Alita Godwin is the official holder of campaign contribution forms, and to date, has not received all filings from Elevate Compton/Compton Strong, to identify the source of their funding.
Patterson’s woes stem from allegations regarding the creation of fake online merchants through which to funnel more than $100 million in credit and debit payments, including companies that supposedly sold carbonated drinks, green tea, face creams and other products. Similarly, Eaze was sued by a competitor in 2019 for the same practices, although Eaze denied the charges then and the case was dismissed and sent to mediation.
James Patterson’s plea, comes a before a scheduled court appearance on conspiracy-to-bank-fraud trial of businessmen Ruben Weigand and Hamid Akhavan in the Southern District of New York federal court.
Patterson admitted to working with Weigand and Akhavan to disguise the purchases because he “understood that if banks were aware of the nature of the transactions they would not allow them,” Law360 reported.
A March 2020 indictment alleged that Weigand and Akhavan created phony online merchants that sold carbonated drinks, green tea, face creams and other products to disguise marijuana payments between 2016 and 2019, therefore circumventing cannabis banking restrictions.
Hamid “Ray” Akhavan and Ruben Weigand were found guilty of laundering $150 million in weed proceeds, and face up to 30 years in prison for their operation.
Are cannabis companies laundering money through political campaign contributions?