Fake cannabis billionaire Justin Costello pleads guilty in $35 million fraud

Justin Costello, who posed as a billionaire and twice-wounded Special Forces Iraq veteran to dupe investors while portraying himself as a legal cannabis mogul, pleaded guilty to securities fraud.

Under a plea agreement with Costello, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 10 years in prison, with Costello echoing that call and being barred from asking for less time than that.

Costello also agreed to pay victims of his frauds — which related to cannabis firms, a would-be bank, and stock pump-and-dumps — not less than $35 million in restitution.

Costello’s guilty plea in federal court in Seattle came three months after an FBI SWAT team apprehended the 42-year-old in a remote area of southern California, carrying a backpack containing gold bars, $70,000 in U.S. and Mexican currency, and a fake ID.

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