David Bunevacz: Ex-UCLA decathlete sentenced to over 17 years for cannabis vape pen fraud
David Bunevacz is already held accountable for one felony charge for the unlawful sale of securities in 2017, as per the Justice Department
CALIFORNIA, US: David Bunevacz, a former track and field star from California has been sentenced to 17 ½ years in federal prison. According to the Department of Justice, he allegedly defrauded cannabis industry investors out of more than $45 million, including some who were reportedly pushed into dire financial crisis. The 53-year-old started as early as 2010 and started by creating business entities with names like CB Holdings Group Corp and Caesarbrutus LLC.
He lured investors by claiming that the companies deal in the cannabis industry, and specifically told them they are part of the selling of vape pens containing cannabis products, such as CBS oil and THC. The Department of Justice also found that Bunevacz shared false information with at least one investor about his relationship with a Chinese manufacturer of disposable vape pens,
convincing them that those were non-toxic and high-quality products.
Bunevacz used the money of investors on his own vacations, horses, designer garments, and even his family’s home in Calabasas, referring the house to be a "luxurious" one in its news release. Moreover, he is also facing charges of registering shell companies, some of which borrowed names from legitimate companies, with the aim “to create the false appearance that his companies were engaged in legitimate business activities,” claims the Justice Department.
The former star athlete even tried to keep his distance from some of the shell entities, listing other people, that includes his stepdaughter as their corporate officers instead of leading it himself. As per federal court filing, Bunevacz raised upwards of $45.2 million in fraudulent investments, at the expense of over 100 victims. District Judge Dale S Fischer, ruled on Monday, November 22, that Bunevacz is responsible for losses amounting to over $35 million, and sentenced him to 210 months behind the bars, reports CBS News.
"The sense of violation, the assault on personal dignity, and the lasting trauma [Bunevacz] has caused are very much reminiscent of the harm typically associated with violent crimes," said prosecutors in a sentencing memo. "And, with well over a hundred victims, [Bunevacz] caused these harms at a scale rarely seen," according to the Justice Department. The guilty Bunevacz was a successful decathlete at UCLA and went on to compete in track and field events with the Filipino national team. He shares three children with his Filipino actor and model wife, Jessica Rodriguez.
Bunevacz is already held accountable for one felony charge for the unlawful sale of securities in 2017, as per the Justice Department. He was arrested in April, when he pleaded guilty in July for one count of securities fraud and another of wire fraud, as he remains in federal custody.