This might be another traditional Ponzi scheme when it comes to investors paying back investors, but not when it comes to the rapper name “BigRigBaby”!
The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a civil complaint filed in California federal court that WeedGenics and its owners, Rolf Max Hirschmann and Patrick Earl Williams, promised investors that their money would be used to expand existing operations in California and Nevada.
“Rolf Hirschmann and Patrick Williams allegedly had no real company, no product, and no business, yet despite this, they promised investors everything and then delivered nothing,” said Michele Wein Layne of the SEC.
Instead, the agency said the money was mostly funneled into the pockets of Hirschmann, 52, of Eagle, Idaho, and Williams, 34, of St. Petersburg, Fla., with $16.7 million being used to pay back earlier investors.
The SEC says that between 2019 and April of this year, the pair managed to raise $60 million from 350 investors.
According to court filings, Hirschmann and Williams had promised investors returns of up to 36%, claiming the business was well under way and that their money would be used to expand existing operations. When fully operational, they claimed the company would generate tens of millions of dollars annually.
When investor money was received, the men would transfer it through a multitude of accounts to obscure its origins, and then use it to buy jewelry, cars and real estate.
Investigators say Hirschmann took pains to obscure his identity from investors, using a fake name, Max Bergmann, in any communications he had with them. Williams operated behind the scenes but used investor money to prop up his career as a rapper known as BigRigBaby, according to court papers.https://www.marketwatch.com/story/up-in-smoke-60-million-marijuana-startup-co-owned-by-rapper-was-a-ponzi-scheme-feds-say-e136c89d
- https://www.instagram.com/bigrigbaby/ (No longer available)
[00:00:08] Keith: Everything about this case is amazing. A rapper’s cannabis company ended up being a Ponzi scheme on eCrimeBytes Nibble number 44. Now this, I’m gonna explain this case to you might just sound like a traditional Ponzi scheme, but there’s one big difference. One of the two gentlemen involved with this Ponzi scheme is a rapper, and his name is BigRigBaby.
[00:00:37] This is a picture of BigRigBaby. Now you will note he is pulling his giant gold chain, and I’m saying this for the video listeners, the audio listeners, you can get to this through the links to my blog as well. But BigRigBaby is standing there pulling his giant gold chain and it has a giant semi rig sort of hanging off the bottom of it.
[00:00:59] And this is important because in the accusations from the SEC and the Ponzi scheme, they said they bought jewelry. And I thought to myself, huh, I wonder if this was purchased using money from the Ponzi scheme. So in this case, the Security and Exchange Commission alleged that in a civil complaint, which is a little bit different than criminal, but it’s one way the government can sue a company.
[00:01:22] And the company in this case is, they’re called WeedGenics, W E E D G E N I C S. And it’s supposed to be just just a regular cannabis company. And they are promising investors if you were to invest with them, that they would use the money and they would expand their existing operations in California and Nevada.
[00:01:44] And if you’re from the United States, if you hear those two states, you think, okay, those are cannabis friendly states. So all so far, everything that I’m explaining sounds pretty legit. So there’s two individuals here, Rolf Hirschmann and Patrick Williams. Now, the SEC claims that they had no real company, no product, and no business.
[00:02:08] Yet, despite this, they promised investors everything and delivered nothing.
[00:02:14] What I thought was interesting is they promised investors a 36% return on their investment, and they claimed it was because their operations were already existing and it was just being used to expand existing operations. And then they said once they’re fully operational, they claim they would be generating tens of millions of dollars because of that, but instead, the SEC says this money that they got from investors and I did the research and they, the SEC says there was 60 million raised off of 350 investors.
[00:02:53] Apparently this 60 million didn’t go to any type of investment. It went through a bunch of transactions through companies and ended up into two gentlemen’s pockets. There is Hirschmann, who’s 52 from Idaho, and we have Williams who’s 34 from Florida.
[00:03:13] Now 16.7 million of this 60 million that they got was used to pay back the earlier investors because that’s how a traditional Ponzi scheme works, is you get some money from early investors. You blow that on dining and jewelry and cars, and then you go, oh shit, I need some more money. You get more investors and then your earlier investors say, Hey, what about my money? And you take some of the later investors and pay back the early investors so you can continue on with your scheme. That’s how Ponzi schemes work.
[00:03:47] So when the investor money was received, like I said, the men would transfer it through a bunch of accounts to obscure where it came from, but then it went into their pockets and they bought jewelry, cars, and real estate according to the SEC. And that’s where I wonder this chain that he’s showing on a lot of these pictures, if that was purchased with the Ponzi scheme money.
[00:04:10] Now, one last note that I thought was pretty interesting, and it says Hirschmann took a lot of pain to obscure his identity from investors by using a fake name called Max Bergmann When I read that, I was like, oh my God, that sounds like straight out of a seventies porn video or something. It was horrible.
[00:04:30] But anyways, in all communications Max, he was Max Bergman talking to his investors, so that way it would be more difficult to track him down if you didn’t know his real name.
[00:04:42] The other individual, Williams operated behind the scenes, but he’s better known as a rapper as BigRigBaby, and they say he used investor money to prop up his career as a rapper, known as BigRigBaby.
[00:05:00] And there you have it. eCrimeBytes nibble number 44. Like I said, this was incredible from beginning to end. If you enjoyed this real quick eCrimeBytes nibble, I will guarantee you’ll like our full episodes because we take a case and I say we in plural because I have a co-host named Seth. We take a case like this and we get deeper into it, about 30 minutes to 60 minutes, and we talk more about the criminal, more about the victims.
[00:05:27] We talk more in depth about how the crime happens, what they do to try to get away from law enforcement, what law enforcement does to catch them, and then, if anything happens in court, if they go to court, if they get sentenced and so forth, we try to cover all that one succinct story for you so you can get the idea of how an electronic crime happens and how it proceeds chronologically from A to z.
[00:05:53] So again, if you enjoyed this eCrimeBytes nibble, you’ll enjoy our fuller episodes and I hope to see you over there on one of them soon. Alrighty, thanks. Bye.
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