SAN JOSE — The owners and managers of a marijuana dispensary in San Jose have been indicted on drug tax fraud, insurance fraud, and money laundering, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
The Mayor’s Office has been working diligently on preparing legislation that would help dispensary owners and legalized marijuana growers legitimize their businesses, many parts of which are still seen as illegal under federal law.
In this case, however, the owners and operators of San Jose Organics failed to pay over $2 million in state and city taxes, authorities said.
An investigation into the dispensary found that they made made approximately $10 million in profit between April 2013 and July 2015. One of the owners, 44-year-old Ben Kit Lew, had $800,000 in cash stored at his San Francisco home and another $400,000 was discovered at other locations during the investigation.
“People like these defendants are profiteers exploiting the medical marijuana laws,” prosecutor Edward Liang said. “They do this, while at the same time ignoring laws that every other businesses in California are required to follow.”
Lew faces up to 46 years in prison on 46 felonies and one misdemeanor, if found guilty. His business partner and co-owner of the dispensary, 43-year-old Brian Wong, faces up to 23 years on 15 felonies and one misdemeanor. 28-year-old Ernest Ma, who acted as business secretary, also faces a maximum of 10 years on six felonies.