(CelebrityAccess) — California-based cannabis startup Integrated National Resources Inc. (INR), operating under the name WeedGenics and led by Rolf Max Hirschmann and Patrick Earl Williams (known as BigRigBaby), is facing serious charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The federal regulator has alleged that the company operated a Ponzi scheme that defrauded numerous investors, causing them to lose millions of dollars.
On Wednesday, the SEC took swift action by obtaining an emergency order against INR. The complaint filed by the SEC claims that between 2019 and April 2023, INR and its owners raised an astonishing $61.7 million from approximately 350 investors. The funds were intended for the development and expansion of a cannabis cultivation facility located in Adelanto, California. However, according to the SEC, the defendants misappropriated the funds for personal expenses, such as luxury vehicles, jewelry, adult entertainment, home upgrades, and even to repay earlier investors.
The SEC’s investigation further revealed that the defendants made significant false statements to investors, including claims of possessing the necessary licenses and permits for cannabis growth and sales in California and Nevada. Additionally, they allegedly fabricated revenue figures to attract potential investors.
According to the SEC, Williams is alleged to have spent more than $18,000 of investor funds on his music career, including payments to producers, DJs, and iHeart Media.
The SEC has formally charged both defendants with violating securities laws and has frozen INR’s assets. Furthermore, they are seeking the recovery of funds obtained through the alleged Ponzi scheme, as well as imposing civil penalties on Hirschmann and Williams. A hearing has been scheduled for June 2 to address the matter.
As of now, it remains unclear whether the defendants have retained legal counsel. WeedGenics, the representative of the accused company, did not respond immediately to a request for comment at the time of publication.