Pot Cooperative Busted for Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Illegal Marijuana Sales
Robert Hoffman, Jeffrey Kroll and Willaim Macneil (l-r)
Ventura County – California is among the national leaders in the movement toward the complete legalization of marijuana, but it is still a long way from such legislation as evidenced by the April 14th arrests of 65-year-old Jeffrey Kroll and 62-year-olds Robert Hoffman and William Macneil, all residents of Ojai.
Under California’s Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420 provisions, Kroll had founded and was operating Shangri La Care Cooperative, a marijuana dispensary ostensibly operating within the law by cultivating and selling marijuana products to those holding medical prescription cards calling for the palliative treatment of ailments with cannabis.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Jason Hendren, however, Kroll, Hoffman, and Macneil had managed to push the limits of medical marijuana initiatives when detectives attached to the Ventura County Narcotics Task Force, the VCSD, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Oxnard Police Department, Simi Valley Police Department, California Highway Patrol and—perhaps most intimidating of all—the California Franchise Tax Board got busy following the discovery of “several outdoor marijuana grow operations” just off State Road 150 on the west side of The City of Ojai.
It was learned that the two outdoor grows were used to supply Kroll’s “Shangri La Care Cooperative” beyond the rules of Senate Bill 420 “and the California Attorney General Guidelines.”
The plants discovered at those outdoor locations were summarily confiscated and destroyed in October 2015, at which time search warrants were served on the Shangri La Care Cooperative and the residences of the three men.
It was then that “a large amount of marijuana, concentrated cannabis, marijuana from other marijuana collectives, marijuana suppositories, marijuana ‘keif’ pills, and various other marijuana products” were discovered at those locations.
Three months later, despite the obvious interest of law enforcement agencies, Kroll continued to operate outside the law throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties without business or operating permits within those jurisdictions.
Further investigation into the financial arrangements and transactions of Kroll and Shangri La Care Cooperative, including “an audit of the accounts by the Franchise Tax Board” gave law enforcement cause to suspect ongoing tax fraud and tax evasion throughout Kroll’s multiple business entities.
Given the totality of the evidence gathered, Kroll, Macneil, and Hoffman were arrested and booked into Ventura County Jail on charges of money laundering, tax evasion, filing false tax returns, illegally cultivating marijuana, illegal marijuana sales, operating a collective within 600 feet of a school, and illegally manufacturing concentrated cannabis.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking