The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday (May 21) charged San Diegan Aaron “Angel” Stanz and his company, Bud Genius, with securities fraud. The complaint was filed in federal court.
Stanz and Bud Genius, a penny stock marijuana testing company, distributed numerous false statements throughout 2014 and 2015, says the commission. Investors were told that the company was primarily involved in testing and analysis of medical marijuana and providing a social web platform that would assist patients in selecting cannabis that fit their medical needs. However, much of the revenue improperly included sales from Stanz’s charter jet business. Neither investors nor Bud Genius’s accountants were told about this revenue.
The company issued many “false and misleading” press releases, says the securities commission. For example, Stanz hyped Genius Biotech, said to be a subsidiary of Bud Genius. Actually, it was a shell company with no operations or employees, says the agency. Bud Genius put out a press release touting its relationship with comedian/cannabis activist Tommy Chong. The Union-Tribune did a puff piece on the company and Chong. But the relationship did not exist, says the SEC.
Annual reports and press releases stated that Stanz had no disciplinary history. But in 2009, he was permanently enjoined by an Illinois court for “cramming" telephone bills with unauthorized charges.