Snowmass home exempt from judge’s asset freeze
A federal judge in Denver has ruled that more than $3 million in assets held by Colorado marijuana mogul Jeffrey Friedland be temporarily frozen, but not a Snowmass Village home that the Securities & Exchange Commission alleges he concealed through a limited liability company.
Chief U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger’s ruling Thursday said the SEC failed to adequately provide a strong enough case that the 2,796-square-foot home at 46 Meadow Road actually belongs to Friedman or his wife.
The SEC sued Friedland last week in the U.S. Court of Denver on securities-fraud allegations that he was paid by a marijuana-based pharmaceutical company to tout its stock through blogs, media interviews and other mediums without disclosing that association. Federal securities laws make it illegal to publicize a company’s stock for compensation without disclosing that.
Friedland’s company Global Corporate Strategies, also a defendant, allegedly received 5.1 million shares in Israel-based OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp. as payment for Friedland’s stock-promotion campaign that ran February 2016 through August 2017. Those shares were transferred to an LLC controlled by Friedland’s wife, Kathy, in January 2017, the SEC contends.
In March 2017, the shares were sold for $6.5 million. And from June through September 2017, Friedland’s Intiva Pharma LLC, also a defendant in the suit, sold nearly most of the 1.3 million shares in OWC for $480,000.
“The crux of the SEC’s complaint here is that neither Mr. Friedland, Global, OWC, or any other person, disclosed to the public the fact that Mr. Friedland or Global received OWC stock as compensation for promoting OWC,” Krieger wrote in her order.
The SEC claims Friedland’s wife used nearly $2 million of those ill-gotten gains to buy the Snowmass home in August through an entity named Aspen Upper Ranch LLC.
Krieger, however, said the SEC’s allegations “are scant” when it comes to the Snowmass home and its ownership.
“Accordingly, the court finds that, at this time, the SEC has not made a sufficient showing that a ‘freeze’ of any property belonging to (Aspen Upper Ranch) is appropriate,” states the order.
Pitkin County property tax records link Aspen Upper Ranch’s payment address to Global Corporate Strategies, Friedland’s company that he founded in 2011.
The judge also did not freeze a Denver condo the SEC claims the Friedlands acquired through ill-gotten gains.
Most of the asset freeze applies to an account that has nearly $3.1 million, along with two smaller accounts (as much as $943 for one account and as much as $25,000 for another one).
The freezes are in effect until April 5. A hearing is scheduled that same day to determine if the asset freeze should last longer, according to the judge’s order.
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