A guy from Southern California who had previously been a member of the national decathlon team of the Philippines was sentenced to 17 and a half years in federal prison on Monday for defrauding investors out of more than $35 million through a fraudulent plan to market cannabis vape pens.
U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer ordered David Joseph Bunevacz to pay restitution in the amount of $35.2 million. The judge stated that Bunevacz “preyed on individuals who believed he was their friend” and that the “seriousness of (his) conduct cannot be captured in mere dollars and cents.”
This was stated in a statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office. Bunevacz was sentenced to a total of 125 years in prison.
In July, Bunevacz, who is 53 years old and lives in Calabasas, entered a guilty plea to charges of wire fraud and securities fraud.
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According to the terms of his plea agreement, Bunevacz established many companies as early as 2010, claiming they were involved in the cannabis market and the distribution of vape pens.
A Southern California man who once competed on the Philippines national decathlon team was sentenced Monday to 17 1/2 years in federal prison for bilking investors out of more than $35 million with a phony scheme to market cannabis vape pens. https://t.co/xVWPPljurX
— FOX 5 San Diego (@fox5sandiego) November 22, 2022
According to the prosecution, he secured funding in the tens of millions of dollars range from at least ten investors.
Bunevacz was accused of using a significant portion of the money not to finance the operations of the business, but rather to pay for a luxury lifestyle that included the purchase of a mansion, visits to Las Vegas, jewelry, designer purses, horses, and an extravagant birthday celebration for his daughter.
In the 1990s, Bunevacz represented both the Philippines and his alma mater, the University of California, Los Angeles, as a member of the Philippine national decathlon team.