A Georgia man last week was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution for his role in defrauding farmers in a hemp business venture.

Rahsaan Jackson Garth, 49, was found to have misrepresented his business, Verde Leaf, to farmers that had entered into contracts with him, claiming that the company had contracts and distribution deals with food, pet, and pharmaceutical companies, which he did not.

Ultimately, Garth was unable to finalize any distribution contracts and, therefore, was unable to process the hemp or pay most of the farmers for their crops and Verde Leaf declared bankruptcy.

“As a result of the false statements that lured the farmers into doing business with Garth, the farmers suffered great financial harm.” — U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Carolina, in a press release

Garth was released from federal prison in 2017 for charges related to healthcare fraud and almost immediately formed Verde Leaf. The company was supposed to address the challenges farmers faced in the hemp sector including license acquisition, hemp cultivation and processing, and industry knowledge. Garth solicited multiple farmers in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia to grow hemp for the company.

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