BOISE, Idaho — According to an SEC filing, a Boise man is accused of raising $60 million from investors for a cannabis company that never existed.
Filing documents show Rolf Hirschmann of Boise and his partner Patrick Earl Williams from Southern California have worked together since at least June 2019 to raise capital from investors for a business called WeedGenics. Hirschmann and Williams told investors they would use the funds to expand their facilities, guaranteeing a 36 percent return.
The problem? WeedGenics is not a real company. They do not own any cannabis facilities, and the money was used in a Ponzi-like scheme to enrich themselves.
The complaint filed by the SEC says that Hirschmann and Williams raised more than $60 million from "main street" investors. They would then use multiple shell companies to funnel money to make payments and enrich themselves. The SEC complaint says the entire company reported facilities, operations and subsidiary shell companies were all a sham.
Hirschmann, the face of the company, used the fake name Max Bergmann the entire time he communicated with investors. At the same time, Williams, Vice President of the company, worked behind the scenes and spent the investors' funds on his other career as a rap musician known as "BigRigBaby," according to the SEC.
"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, Director of the SEC's Los Angeles Regional Officer. "This action demonstrates that despite the defendants' extensive efforts to avoid detection, the SEC has the ability to uncover fraud to protect investors."
The court has granted the SEC emergency relief against INR, WeedGenics' "parent company." The court has granted several relief defendants a temporary restraining order and frozen all assets. A hearing is scheduled for June 2 to consider whether to issue a preliminary injunction and appoint a permanent receiver.