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Brazen Cannabis Industry Con Artist Faces O.C. Judge

No potluck

To trick his investors into awing his astonishing investment skills, Texas-based Michael Edgar Cone liked to draw attention to his high-end Rolex watches, designer clothes, lavish dining habits as well as to his wheels, a 2017 Bentley Flying Spur and a 2015 Rolls Royce Wraith.

Cone claimed he’d successfully run a business for 12 years, operated private equity offices in three states, paid 271 investors ridiculous 24 percent annual returns, raised as much as $152 million and partnered in his cannabis-related business with a retired agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

All of those lines uttered in conversations or printed in written communications were lies, according to the FBI.

To thwart his targets from discovering his criminal record, non-existent investment experience and that he was living luxuriously off his scam, Cone—who was born in 1981—used aliases including Bryan Driscoll, Brian Gwinn, Michael B. Weinflash and Brian Wilson Kipp.

In truth, he’d risen to an unceremonious rank in the cannabis industry: marijuana courier.

But his cold-call Ponzi scheme worked so well that at least 60 wealthy investors in 26 states gave the con artist around $4 million during a seven-month period that ended in March 2018.

Even after a law enforcement raid of his property, the Dallas-area man managed to swindle another $400,000 in less than two weeks using his Greenview Investment Partners L.P. and Greenfield & Wright LLC.

Contributing to his downfall, the defendant unwittingly solicited an Orange County investor, who was in reality an undercover FBI special agent working on white-collar crime investigations.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By R. Scott Moxley on OC Weekly

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Published: December 12, 2018

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