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Fresno area dispensary operator hit with money laundering charges

Posted on July 18th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

CaliforniaMark Bagdasarian, a cannabis dispensary owner in Clovis, Calif, already facing possession and distribution charges, was hit with federal money laundering charges July 16. Federal prosecutors say Bagdasarian laundered money through ATMs at his Buds 4 Life dispensaries in Tarpey Village and Friant. Bagdasarian pleaded not guilty to the new charges. Prosecutors say Bagdasarian would take cash from cannabis sales—illegal under federal law—and load it into the ATMs at the dispensaries, to be withdrawn by customers.

Attorney Anthony Capozzi, who is representing Bagdasarian, said Bagdasarian installed the ATMs to help customers and avoid additional transaction fees charged for using credit and debit cards. The initial indictment against Bagdasarian and his son, Ryan Bagdasarian, charged them with conspiring to cultivate and distribute cannabis as well as possession with intent to distribute. Mark Bagdasarian also was charged with cultivation. Capozzi said he plans to aggressively fight the case, indicating that no plea agreement is in the works. "Our position is that the government is unnecessarily piling on here," Capozzi said. (Fresno Bee, July 16)

 

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