Michigan Dispensary Owner Found Guilty of Evading Over $1M in Taxes

Richmond reportedly paid the store's operational expenses largely in cash to avoid reporting.

A federal jury last week found a Michigan cannabis dispensary owner guilty on multiple counts including evading federal income taxes and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

Ryan Richmond, the owner and operator of the now-closed dispensary Relief Choices, LLC in Warren, Michigan, is accused of causing more than $1.15 million in tax loss to the IRS between 2011 and 2014.

Evidence presented during the trial showed that Richmond made deliberate attempts to hide his true business gross receipts by having Relief Choices pay most of its operating expenses in cash. Additionally, he redirected customer credit card payments through an unrelated third-party bank account to further blur the true earnings of the business.

In subsequent years, Richmond reportedly obstructed the IRS by providing misleading information, including to an IRS auditor examining his personal income taxes. The obstruction centered around his role in, knowledge of, and profits earned from Relief Choices.

The sentencing for Richmond is set for Dec. 13. For each count of tax evasion, he could face up to five years in prison. He is also looking at three years for obstructing the IRS and one year for willfully failing to file a tax return.

Apart from prison time, Richmond might face supervised release, restitution, and additional monetary penalties.

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.

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