If you are a Medbox, Inc., stockholder or considering purchasing stock Medbox is offering in its current public offering you must read the three stories listed below.
After an extensive investigation, the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation published a blockbuster story about publicly traded Medbox and its front man Pejman “Vincent” Mehdizadeh, “a 34-year-old with a consistent record of legal problems going back to age 18, only one of which was disclosed to investors.” Here are some choice statements from the story entitled “Tinkerer, Lawyer, Hustler, Lies: One Man’s Path to a Dope Fortune“:
“In the spring of 2010, exasperated police detectives from all over Los Angeles began phoning the county’s consumer affairs department to complain that an outfit calling itself the Active Lawyers Referral Service had misled its working-class customers from 2005 to 2008 by referring them to a law firm that billed them for work—but never finished the job. Their tales got positively woolly: Several claimed that Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh, the founder of the referral service and the manager of the law firm, had posed as a lawyer and his father, Parviz, had given them legal advice as they sought work visas. (Pejman and Parviz use the names Vincent and Paul, respectively, for business.)
Three years later the consumer affairs unit, along with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, sought to prosecute Vincent Mehdizadeh, who, after months of wrangling, pleaded no contest to various criminal charges. He consented to pay $450,000 in restitution to his victims, thereby avoiding a four-year sentence in a California state penitentiary. (His father, Parviz, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge.) . . .
Running his own dispensary business had proved to be a profound headache for Mehdizadeh: In 2007 the Drug Enforcement Agency raided Herbal Nutrition Center, his dispensary; and a lawsuit resulted from another dispensary transaction in which he was accused of posing as a lawyer and a real estate agent at different times. (Mehdizadeh told the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation that he paid $350,000 to the plaintiffs to settle the matter and “make it go away.”) . . .
Mehdizadeh’s many legal problems have never been disclosed to Medbox investors—except for a 2007 incident when he failed to produce a clear title to a car he was selling yet accepted a credit card payment for the vehicle anyway. The consumer affairs investigation, which had been headed for trial with the possibility of prison time for Mehdizadeh before he pleaded no contest, was blithely waved away in a Medbox filing as “a private matter.”
Read the whole troubling story. One thing the story did not mention was whether there is a single medical marijuana vending machine actually used in daily operations of a medical marijuana dispensary in any of the states that have legalized medical marijuana. If you know of an operating Mebox medical marijuana vending machine please let me know the location and name of the dispensary.
See also Yahoo Finance’s story entitled “Medbox: Emerging Marijuana Player, or Disaster Waiting to Happen?” that contains these statements:
“What the foundation reports ought to give investors ample pause before hopping on the erstwhile legal pot gravy train stock promoters are touting. . . .
Make no mistake: What Mehdizadeh was getting rapped for is well north of a citation for drinking beer underage and serves to raise serious questions about what is known as “Fitness for Office.”
There were charges—and a series of no contest pleas–for breaking and entering, credit card fraud, solicitation of a prostitute and trespass with intent to injure.
What is even less savory is how a legal referral business Mehdizadeh ran with his dad and a job he had managing a law office in Los Angeles between 2005 and 2008 went so far off the rails that the District Attorney’s office was ready to take him to trial on consumer fraud this summer. Mehdizadeh agreed to a plea bargain that has him paying $450,000 in restitution to avoid a four-year jail sentence.
First to tell anyone that lessons aplenty have been learned and that he stopped screwing up years ago–Mehdizadeh also acknowledged posing as a lawyer without having gone to law school–the suddenly quite rich entrepreneur is laser-focused on Medbox’s future.
Which should be the real cause for concern among Medbox shareholders.”
Southcoast Today published a story called “High-profile marijuana millionaire behind multiple RMD applicants; locals cry foul” that states:
“Vincent Mehdizadeh, a West Coast marijuana millionaire with a conviction for defrauding immigrants, is backing nearly one in 10 of prospective dispensaries in the Bay State, causing some local competitors to cry foul.”
Update: Medbox issued a press release dated October 16, 2913, that addresses recent negative publicty about Vincent Mehdizadeh. The press release states:
“Company executives caution company shareholders that while the media has been extremely supportive of Medbox as one of the only viable medical marijuana related public companies, with success there will always be detractors that publish deceptive and misleading articles about the company and its executives.
‘I have witnessed a person calling himself a professional journalist resort to defamatory statements, the majority of which are in most cases half-truths and in some cases a complete fabrication of events that purportedly transpired in my life before I founded Medbox,’ stated Vincent Mehdizadeh, Chief Operations Officer of Medbox, Inc.
Mehdizadeh states that he will not be using company funds to seek legal recourse against the reporter in question.
‘I’d rather spend company funds on further developing our business,’ said Mehdizadeh. ‘I will self-fund any recourse I have planned regarding this particular journalist. When confronted, this journalist initially denied having any ties to short interest players in MDBX stock, but upon further inquiry admitted the relationships in an email. I look forward to seeing just how deep that rabbit hole goes’.”
While doing a Google search today I found a June 28, 2013, press release about the Mehdizadehs, father and son, issued by the LA County Department of Consumer Affairs that states:
“A father-and-son team who pretended to be a law firm and defrauded dozens of victims seeking immigration help have pled guilty to multiple charges of grand theft.
Brian J. Stiger, Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), has announced today that Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh and Parviz Paul Mehdizadeh were ordered to pay full restitution to victims who reported their losses to DCA.
The Mehdizadehs took money for immigration cases and either did not file or filed fraudulent documents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They are responsible for defrauding victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars while offering services in areas such as immigration, bankruptcy, divorce, and mortgage modifications, often without providing any services. Many of the Mehdizadehs’ victims were forced to leave the country because of their failure to file appropriate documents.
Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh, 34, of Los Angeles , pled to two felony grand theft counts and Parviz Paul Mehdizadeh, 78, of Calabasas, pled to one misdemeanor count. Restitution will approach a half a million dollars, not including money distributed from the State Bar of California Restitution Fund, most of which has already been collected and distributed to the known victims.
‘“Immigration consultants often tell consumer s that they have ‘special connections’ or know about secret programs to help immigrants become legal citizens,’ Director Stiger said. ‘They will say anything to gain your trust and take your money. Consumers should remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’
The Mehdizadehs also ran a lawyer referral service, under the name Active Lawyer Referral Service, and referred clients to themselves.
The prosecutors were Dana Aratani and Kathleen Tuttle of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.”