The Securities and Exchange Commission received an emergency order to shut down a rapper’s marijuana startup, which allegedly defrauded investors.
Federal regulators claimed rapper Patrick Earl Williams, who uses the stage name BigRigBaby, ran a Ponzi-like scheme with his partner Rolf Max Hirschmann for several years. The men raised $60 million for a marijuana business called WeedGenics but allegedly pocketed the money for personal use dating back to at least 2019.
Hirschmann and Williams allegedly convinced investors to back the expansion of WeedGenics facilities, but they never owned or operated an actual facility for the marijuana operation. The feds said Hirschmann used a fake name in talks with investors.
The SEC accused Hirschmann and Williams of transferring money through multiple accounts to spend it on cars, jewelry, real estate and more. Williams allegedly used the funds to support his rap career.
“Rolf Hirschmann and Patrick Williams allegedly had no real company, no product and no business, yet despite this, they promised investors everything and then delivered nothing,” the SEC’s Michele Wein Layne said in a press release. “This action demonstrates that, despite the defendants’ extensive efforts to avoid detection, the SEC has the ability to uncover fraud to protect investors.”
The SEC sought injunctions against Hirschmann and Williams for violating the antifraud provisions of securities laws. A court granted a temporary restraining order and froze their assets.