LOS ANGELES – A previous UCLA decathlete who also competed with the Philippines countrywide crew was arrested this morning on a federal criminal complaint alleging that he fraudulently elevated much more than $37 million from buyers who were being explained to their cash would be employed to finance corporations marketing and advertising hashish vape pens.
David Joseph Bunevacz, 53, of Calabasas, was taken into custody this early morning pursuant to a complaint submitted on March 30 that rates him with just one count of wire fraud. Bunevacz is predicted to make his first appearance this afternoon in United States District Court docket in Los Angeles.
According to an affidavit filed with the criticism, Bunevacz solicited investments in different businesses – “CB Holding Group Corp.” and “CaesarBrutus LLC,” amongst other people – which he claimed were being associated in the sale of vape pens made up of hashish items these types of as CBD oil and THC. Bunevacz falsely told at the very least one particular trader he experienced a extensive-standing connection with a Chinese maker of disposable vape pens and he received “raw pesticide-cost-free oil” that was despatched to a “lab that infuses the flavors into the oil with our proprietary personalized procedure that renders the vape flavoring easy and discrete,” the grievance alleges. Bunevacz allegedly also presented traders with cast files – these as bank statements, invoices and order orders – to aid his statements of the businesses’ good results and the require for investor cash.
In its place of applying the money to finance organization operations, Bunevacz “misappropriated the broad vast majority of the resources to shell out for his personal opulent life style, including a deluxe household in Calabasas, Las Vegas visits, jewellery, designer purses, a lavish birthday party for his daughter, and horses,” according to the affidavit. Bunevacz allegedly expended $8,143,500 at casinos, paid out $218,700 to an celebration planner in relationship with a birthday get together for his daughter, and purchased a horse for $330,000. Some investor resources were allegedly utilised to repay before traders in a way dependable with a Ponzi scheme.
To develop the fake look that his companies were being engaged in respectable business enterprise actions, Bunevacz registered different shell organizations, which include quite a few with names comparable or identical to individuals of reputable cannabis enterprises. To conceal his management of these shell companies and the financial institution accounts linked with them, Bunevacz outlined other folks, which include his stepdaughter, as the corporate officers of the shell providers.
According to the affidavit, Bunevacz and his family members manage a public profile. Bunevacz’s web site touts his achievements as a previous decathlete who competed for the Philippines, and his spouse and daughter appeared in a fact television exhibit. In spite of Bunevacz’s advertising of his history, Bunevacz took endeavours to conceal destructive details from traders, this sort of as his 2017 felony conviction for the illegal sale of securities, according to the affidavit. After a person trader uncovered a civil lawsuit against Bunevacz, Bunevacz allegedly emailed a counterfeit version of the settlement settlement to falsely make it seem that he had been paid $325,000 as part of a settlement. In reality, it was Bunevacz who experienced agreed to pay back $325,000 to settle the declare.
Investigators imagine that Bunevacz triggered his victims to go through losses of at the very least $28.4 million, and possibly as significantly as $35 million. The investigation in this subject is ongoing.
A felony grievance incorporates allegations that a defendant has dedicated a criminal offense. Each and every defendant is presumed harmless until finally and except if proven guilty in courtroom.
If convicted of the wire fraud demand alleged in the grievance, Bunevacz would encounter a statutory maximum sentence of 20 several years in federal jail.
The FBI, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Division and IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating this make any difference. The U.S. Securities and Trade Commission offered considerable assistance.
Assistant United States Legal professional Alexander B. Schwab of the Big Frauds Section is prosecuting this scenario.