Oakland County man convicted of cheating IRS out of $1.15 million over Warren medical dispensary

posted Sept 11, 2023 on Macomb Daily

An Oakland County businessman who operated a now-closed medical marijuana dispensary in Warren faces prison time after he was found guilty last week of evading federal income taxes and obstructing the IRS.

Ryan Richmond, 46, of Bloomfield Hills, was also convicted by a federal jury on Friday of other charges, according to Stuart Goldberg, the acting deputy assistant attorney general of the U.S. Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Richmond cheated the Internal Revenue Service out of more than $1.15 million, officials said Monday in a news release.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Richmond owned and operated Relief Choices on Dequindre Road, a marijuana dispensary located just north of Eight Mile Road, in Warren.

Federal prosecutors said from 2011 through at least 2014, Richmond had Relief Choices pay its operating expenses extensively in cash, and routed customer credit card payments through an unrelated third-party bank account to conceal his true business gross receipts.

In 2015 and 2016, Richmond obstructed the IRS by misleading investigators – and particularly an IRS auditor examining his individual income taxes – about his knowledge of, role in and profits derived from his Relief Choices operation.

The cannabis shop has since closed.

He was charged in a 25-page indictment in March 2021.

Richmond is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13 and faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of tax evasion, three years in prison for obstructing the IRS and one year in prison for the willful failure to file a tax return count.

He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Defense attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

In 2012, Richmond was one of eight defendants who had criminal charges dismissed in Oakland County Circuit Court for their role in operating a Ferndale medical marijuana dispensary.

Attorney Neil Rockind, who represented Richmond in the case, argued that the owners of the clinic believed they were complying with the law and had approval from the city of Ferndale.

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