Former Eaze CEO Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud Conspiracy
Former Eaze CEO James Patterson pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud as part of a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors. The plea was made in connection with a marijuana “transaction laundering scheme” carried out by two businessmen, Ruben Weigand and Hamid Akhavan, between 2016 and 2019.
“The indictment alleged that the two, operating the Online Marijuana Marketplace, created fictitious online merchants that sold dog products, dive gear, carbonated drinks, green tea and face creams to route the marijuana transactions and get around cannabis banking restrictions,” reports Marijuana Business Daily.
“As CEO of Eaze, I cooperated with Ray Akhavan to assist people to buy pot on their credit cards,” Patterson admitted before the judge. “Otherwise, banks wouldn’t have allowed the transactions.”
In a statement before the plea, Eaze spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford said the company was cooperating with authorities. She noted that Eaze is not a defendant in the case and that Patterson is no longer with the company.