CINCINNATI (WKRC) – The pitch was simple: invest in growing marijuana and grow your money.
However, Warren County prosecutors said Aaron Pitman and Ryan Goldschmidt’s alleged marijuana grow operation in California was non-existent.
The more than $796,000 they got from investors never made any returns.
“Never would any of my clients, I would not allow it,” said financial advisor Ken Wilson with Northwestern Mutual.
“I’m going to say, ‘Who introduced you to that opportunity? What’s the company? What’s the history of that company?” he added.
Goldschmidt and Pitman, who were sentenced to 90 days in jail, claimed to have experience in the marijuana industry and one of them even claimed to be a licensed attorney.
Wilson said he would ask his clients, “Have you seen anything other than his words?”
“It’s sophisticated in terms of its planning and execution without a doubt,” attorney Bill Gallagher said of the scheme.
Gallagher said you can expect more of these scams after recreational marijuana becomes legal in Ohio on December 7.
It’s a brand-new industry he said could sprout a brand-new crop of conmen.
“We’ve seen these type of scams with almost every new industry or every new product that sort of comes out that we just don’t quite understand yet,” said Gallagher.
Since Issue 2 passed last week, Wilson said he’s already received two calls from people selling weed as an investment.
“One wanted me to invest in marijuana and another one wanted me to recommend it to my clients,” said Wilson.
While the thought of a quick profit can be tempting, experts caution those dreams can quickly go up in smoke.