Rakoff Calls $17M Forfeiture In Pot Fraud Case 'Excessive'

By Sarah Jarvis (August 31, 2021, 6:27 PM EDT) -- Manhattan U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff has rejected prosecutors' "fallback" request for a $17 million forfeiture order to be included in the prison sentence of a businessman convicted of a scheme to fool banks into processing more than $150 million of cannabis payments, calling it "unconstitutionally excessive."

Instead, Judge Rakoff on Monday ordered Hamid "Ray" Akhavan to forfeit $103,750 — the value of the stock option he was given in San Francisco-based marijuana delivery service Eaze — saying that amount is "proportional to the gravity of his offense." 

Prosecutors say Akhavan, co-conspirator Ruben Weigand and others were in on a...

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