A Long Beach attorney who helped the owner of a chain of marijuana shops launder money pled guilty to federal charges, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced on Thursday.
Richard Brizendine will face up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to structure cash deposits to avoid federal reporting requirements.
Brizendine was an attorney for John Melvin Walker, who made $25 million by operating marijuana stores across Los Angeles and Orange counties, authorities said.
According to a federal indictment unsealed on Thursday, Walker would give Brizendine cash from his marijuana sales, and Brizendine would deposit the money into several different bank accounts, including business accounts for corporations to which he had ties. To avoid federal filing requirements, Brizendine limited the deposits to less than $10,000 for each account.
By pleading guilty, Brizendine specifically admitted that he structured approximately $389,700 in deposits for Walker. He is scheduled for sentencing on May 4.