The founder of the Natural Healing Center, Helios Dayspring, has pleaded guilty to bribery and filing a false income tax return.
The cannabis business owner appeared on video in federal court on Friday, October 22nd.
He was first tried in federal court in July after allegedly admitting to bribing late San Luis Obispo County District 3 supervisor Adam Hill, trying to bribe former Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals, and failing to do so had to report millions of dollars in revenue to the IRS.
Dayspring is due to be sentenced on February 11, 2022.
He faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison, three years probation and a fine of $ 500,000. He could also be asked to pay nearly $ 3.5 million in reimbursement to the IRS.
According to court documents, Dayspring paid Hill $ 29,000 in cash between 2016 and 2019, gave him cannabis products and paid for multiple meals on the assumption that Hill would vote for Dayspring’s cannabis farms and advocate cannabis law.
San Luis Obispo County officials said a review of cannabis laws and land use permits following the announcement of the charges against Dayspring found two questionable decisions that could be linked to Hill’s bribery.
Officials say one of these was a vote that ultimately benefited Dayspring by temporarily extending cannabis law enforcement for certain breeders.
Court documents show that Dayspring Shoals also offered $ 100,000 to secure two permits for cannabis dispensaries in the town of Grover Beach. Shoals reportedly did not respond to the attempted bribes.
The Natural Healing Center eventually received a single pharmacy permit to open a store in Grover Beach. It was the first NHC pharmacy to open in San Luis Obispo County. A second location opened in April in Morro Bay.
A third NHC location was planned in the city of San Luis Obispo, but in early October city officials announced that the permit for the company’s commercial cannabis operator will be canceled and it will no longer be allowed to open. Officials said a review of the naturopathic center’s application revealed that Dayspring had provided false or misleading information about its criminal misconduct, alleging that it had never spent money on illegal purposes, forged documents, or participated in tax fraud or evasion.
Ahead of a meeting of the San Luis Obispo City Council on October 19, NHC officials held a rally encouraging city guides to reverse the decision and allow the cannabis dispensary to open their proposed storefront on Broad Street. However, city officials said the decision would stay in effect, although the company has an option to request a judicial review within 90 days.
The Natural Healing Center, with Val Garcia now as CEO, also operates a shop in Lemoore and plans to open another in Turlock.