DENVER – The US Attorney’s Office in Denver announced a guilty plea by one of the two owners of the Lazy Lion marijuana lounge for failing to pay more than $3 million in taxes. Andrew Poarch, 31, entered his plea last Wednesday before US District Court Judge Robert Blackburn for filing a false federal income tax return.
The case was brought by US Attorney Jason Dunn and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Neff. It was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent Steven Osborne. They believe Poarch and his wife grossed more than $10 million in revenue during the 32 months their the business was open from January of 2013 to August of 2016.
That money came from membership fees and entry fees charged to Lazy Lion customers as well as direct marijuana sales. The Lazy Lion was never registered as a recreational marijuana dispensary with the State of Colorado. The Poarchs owned and controlled a series of grow operations and warehouses around Colorado Springs where marijuana was cultivated and prepared for sale.
The Lazy Lion was run as a cash-only business that kept an ATM on the premises. USA Dunn and Agent Osborne believe the Poarchs tracked their cash revenue using a point of sale program which recorded customer transactions. The couple filed a tax return in September of 2015 in which they reported an adjusted gross income of $19,294. The authorities believe their true adjusted gross income in 2015 was $2,807,761 leaving a tax debt of $1,061,485. They failed to file personal income tax returns for 2015 and 2016. Investigators believe their net income in 2015 was $4,187,449 and in 2016 was $1,325,575.
In January of 2016, federal agents served a search warrant at the business. No arrests were announced at the time. Andrew Poarch was charged on December 20, 2018. Sentencing originally scheduled for May is now reset for July10, 2019 as Poarch’s attorney requested his sentencing take place at the same time as his wife’s.