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Beverly Hills Conman Facing New Federal Fraud Charges Over Phony Hemp Farm Scheme, While Still On Supervised Release For Past Crimes

68-year-old Mark Anderson allegedly tricked investors into providing $9 million in funding for his company, Harvest Farm Group, which was said to be harvesting and processing hemp grown on his farm into medical grade CBD isolate that would be sold for big profits.

11:27 AM PDT on May 30, 2023

Matteo Paganelli/Unsplash

After having been disbarred over a decade ago, 68-year-old former attorney-cum-professional conman Mark Anderson was already on supervised release in Beverly Hills after serving a 135-month federal prison sentence for a 2011 fraud conviction related to a crooked investment scheme, when he was arrested again this month.

Now he's expected to be arraigned today on federal charges and facing five counts of wire fraud for soliciting more than $9 million from victims, who were ensnared into believing false claims that they were investing in a hemp farm.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Anderson allegedly tricked investors into providing funding for his company, Harvest Farm Group, which was said to be intent on harvesting and processing hemp that was grown on his farm into medical grade CBD isolate that would be sold for big profits

Special agents with the FBI arrested Anderson on May 9 after prosecutors filed a criminal complaint in Los Angeles federal court alleging a scheme to induce victims to send money to the defendant from at least June 2020 to April 2021, officials said.

Court papers state that Anderson allegedly attempted to maintain an appearance of trustworthiness by taking steps to assure potential investors that Harvest Farms Group was not only legitimate, but that he "was not the 'Mark Roy Anderson' with multiple prior fraud convictions."

The indictment contends that Anderson "concealed that he had been convicted of multiple federal and state felony crimes, including mail fraud, wire fraud, grand theft, forgery, preparing false evidence, and money laundering, and concealed that he was still serving a criminal sentence and still on supervised release at the time he was soliciting investments.''

The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges Anderson used investor money for personal expenses, including more than $650,000 worth of luxury and vintage vehicles, over $400,000 in cash withdrawals, more than $142,000 in retail purchases, and other personal expenses, including more than $1.3 million spent on a home and surrounding citrus groves in Ojai.

Anderson has been ordered held without bond in the case. Each count of wire fraud alleged in the indictment carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors noted.

Reporting by City News Service

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