2 Southwest Ohio men defraud investors of nearly $800K in fake marijuana business

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Two Southwest Ohio men were recently ordered to pay back nearly $800,000 to defrauded investors in a fake marijuana grow operation, the Ohio Department of Commerce announced Thursday.

Ryan R. Goldschmidt, 39, of Cincinnati, and Aaron Pitman, 35, of Morrow were recently sentenced by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda to 90 days in jail, five years of probation and to pay $796,000 restitution.

The men were indicted in October 2022 following an investigation by the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities with the Ohio Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s forensic accounting team.

“Goldschmidt and Pitman were alleged to have defrauded investors through multiple business entities including making misrepresentations to multiple victims to induce them to invest in a medical marijuana grow operation that was claimed to be operating in California, as well as a CBD oil cartridge manufacturing business,” a statement from the commerce department read.

Neither man was licensed to sell securities to investors in Ohio.

About $796,000 in investor funds were deposited into Warren County bank accounts controlled by the pair. The money was used for personal expenses, and in some cases the investor funds were diverted to pay off prior lawsuits or make payments to friends, the commerce department said.

The jail sentence for Goldschmidt was deferred for six months pending payment of restitution. He deposited $150,000 before sentencing for partial restitution. Pitman was ordered to serve 45 days in jail with the additional 45 days suspended pending payment of restitution, and Oda ordered his $50,000 bond be used toward restitution.

Before investing, residents are encouraged to call the Division of Securities’ investor protection hotline at 877-883-7841 to ask:

  • Is the securities professional, platform or individual properly licensed in Ohio
  • Is the security being promoted by the firm, platform, or individual registered for sale in Ohio?
  • Are there any enforcement actions involving the firm, platform, professional, or security being promoted?

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