A Tampa bay investor used his investment syndicate to raise $5,500,000 for his investors to buy a Colorado legal marijuana business. Federal Official report he instead spent $3,000,000 of the money to pay off personal mortgages, vintage sports automobiles, bitcoin, and strippers.
The 48-year-old Steven Lawrence Brickner had received investing cash from more than 60 local investors under a collage of business entities he created to fool investors. Business with names like FirstCanna Pharmaceuticals, FirstCanna Financial and High Country Healing most likely only existed in UPS Store mailboxes, and not actual marijuana businesses according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The scheme Brickner created was telling investors including real estate investment partner that he would create incredible profits by purchasing a Colorado-licensed marijuana dispensary syndicate. The investors’ shares would then be deemed “preferred shares” when Brickner listed the business to be traded publicly after the initial public offering of stock was completed. The Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit alleged Brickner continue to raise money from 2015 through 2019. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday, April 21st in U.S. District Court in Tampa, just one day after 4/20 which Brickner would have liked.
At the announcement of the lawsuit, Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami regional office said: “Brickner allegedly lured retail investors with false promises of an imminent (initial public offering) and significant future profits,” Instead the Feds said he spent more than 50% of the money to support his luxury lifestyle on exotic items
Instead, federal regulators said, Brickner burned through more than half the money supporting a lavish personal lifestyle, and risky investments spending:
- $465,000 buying crypto coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum
- $1,200,000 on cars, and old sports cars like a two 1968 Camaros, 2017 Corvette, 2013 Bentley, 1969 Camaro, a 1965 Corvette, two 1963 Corvettes, 2017 Camaro, a 1957 Chevy and a 1970 Mach 1 Mustang.
- $286,000 in cash from ATM withdrawals.
- $335,000 at an “adult entertainment club” in the Tampa area. Officials declined to specify which club the money was spent in, however they did say the club was not accused of any wrongdoing.
- $580,000 to pay off personal mortgages.
Brickner agreed to terms federal prosecutors filed in federal court that he would not publicly deny the allegations with any public statement. Brickner also agreed to turn remaining money over to investors with interest. The amount has not been determined yet and there will be a civil penalty included once the amount was determined by the court.
PropertyOnion.com has reached out to Brickner’s attorney on the case for comment, but as of the time of publishing, he has not responded.