Helios Dayspring, the founder and former CEO of California-based Natural Healing Center, last week was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment for bribing a public official and filing a false tax return, the Los Angeles Times reports. Dayspring had previously pleaded guilty to felony charges and agreed to pay $3.4 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
In the plea agreement, Dayspring admitted to bribing San Louis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill to support his cannabis businesses, paying Hill a total of $32,000 in exchange for votes favoring legislation that permitted Dayspring’s cannabis farms to operate before getting final approval. Dayspring also admitted to attempting to bribe the former Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals in 2017 in exchange for two dispensary licenses, but Shoals did not accept the bribe.
During sentencing last Friday, U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr. said the case was “troubling” because “it goes to the heart of government process” as several other members of the city council have been accused of taking bribes.
Hill died in August 2020 of an overdose of antidepressants and cocaine, which authorities ruled a suicide.
In the plea agreement, Dayspring admitted that he first bribed Hill with three $3,000 money orders and an additional $9,000 in cash the following year, the report says. Dayspring also admitted to underreporting his personal income on his federal tax returns by more than $3.4 million for four years. He had faced a maximum sentence of 13 years in federal custody.
During the hearing, Thomas Rybarczyk, an assistant U.S. attorney, told Birotte that Dayspring “was trying to fix the game” and “make sure no one else got in.” He added that Dayspring’s cooperation with authorities led to no new investigations.