One of the leading marijuana vending machine companies, MedBox, took a stinging slap in the press this week from the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation, which found a number of problems with the company.
Los Angeles-based MedBox says it has 165, $25,000-a-piece weed kiosks set up in four states, but SIRF found "uncovered a host of disclosure issues, baffling related-party transactions and substantial problems with the company’s accounting—and its accountants."
MedBox founder Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh was raided by the DEA in 2007 for running a dispensary, and in a related lawsuit "he was accused of posing as a lawyer and a real estate agent at different times," SIJR's Roddy Boyd writes.
"A search of Los Angeles area criminal records databases shows that from 1997 to 2007, Mehdizadeh was arrested or pleaded no contest for breaking and entering, solicitation, trespassing and credit card fraud. He declared bankruptcy in July 2010, after landing up to his neck in back taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service."
Mehdizadeh also got in trouble for posing as a lawyer in an outfit calling itself the Active Lawyers Referral Service which "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. "
A Los Angeles "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."
Mehdizadeh calls the SIJR report reckless and deceptive.