CLEVELAND, Ohio — An Avon man is facing a federal criminal investigation in Michigan related to his role in a marijuana business that authorities say defrauded investors out of some $14 million.
Sean K. Williams, 51, is the “target” of the pure organic entity investigation, according to documents filed by Williams’ attorney. Williams was the company’s chief operating officer.
U.S. Attorney West Michigan is handling the criminal investigation, according to an affidavit filed by Williams’ attorney Edmond Searby.
No criminal charges have been filed in this case. Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer have reached out to Searby and Michigan prosecutors for comment.
The Securities and Exchange Commission in September pursued pure organic entitiesWilliams and the company’s founder, Kris Swaffer of Cadillac, Michigan, for embezzling investors’ money.
Searby on Monday asked U.S. District Judge Bridget Brennan in Cleveland to halt proceedings in the SEC lawsuit to allow the criminal investigation to continue.
Searby argued that the temporary stay in the civil suit would allow his client to ensure that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is not violated during depositions in the SEC case.
The SEC lawsuit said Swaffer started the company in 2016 and took money from at least 75 investors to grow marijuana and sell it commercially.
SEC officials said Swaffer instead used the investors’ money to settle old debts, pay for home improvements, cars and boats, and buy his wife’s personal expenses, such as groceries and clothes. clothing, according to the file.
Williams received “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in cash from investors outside of his work for the company, including $160,000 in investor funds in August and October 2018, according to the SEC lawsuit.
He started out as an investor until Swaffer made him chief operating officer. Williams previously worked in logistics for a trucking company.
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