Atlanta Man Sentenced to 36 Months for Defrauding Farmers in Hemp Business Venture
GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA — Rahsaan Jackson Garth, age 49, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay over 2 million dollars in restitution for his role in defrauding farmers in a hemp business venture.
Evidence presented to the court showed that, after being released from federal prison in 2017 for his involvement in a health care fraud, Garth formed the company Verde Leaf and directed it. Verde Leaf was supposed to address the challenges farmers faced in the hemp arena including license acquisition, hemp cultivation and processing, and industry knowledge. He solicited multiple farmers (in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia) to grow hemp for his company.
On February 19, 2020, in the District of South Carolina, Verde Leaf held a workshop for potential farmers. During the workshop, Garth represented that Verde Leaf had distribution networks and deals with food companies, pet companies, and pharmaceutical companies. While Garth was in various stages of negotiations with many of these companies, he fraudulently represented that Verde Leaf had consummated these deals.
Based in part on these knowing misrepresentations, farmers entered into contracts with Verde Leaf to grow hemp. Verde Leaf assisted these farmers with their hemp crops. However, Verde Leaf was unable to consummate the deals referenced at the SCDA meeting to distribute or sell products. Therefore, Verde Leaf was unable to process the hemp or pay most of the farmers for their crops and had to declare bankruptcy. As a result of the false statements that lured the farmers into doing business with Garth, the farmers suffered great financial harm.
“The District of South Carolina is committed to prosecuting schemes that target South Carolina farmers and small business owners,” said United States Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “We appreciate the hard work of the FBI and their continued efforts to investigate these crimes.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins prosecuted the case.
Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Brook.Andrews@usdoj.gov, 803-929-3000