The possibilities of earning a profit in the cannabis industry are great, but so is the chance of being swindled. Some hopeful entrepreneurs say they lost thousands of dollars after attending seminars hosted by Cannabis Talk Network.
Camillia Bowen is one of those unfortunate scam victims. She attended a free seminar held at the Marriott Hotel in her hometown of Atlanta hoping to discover how to make money growing and selling marijuana. “Oh, they give a good speech. The speaker was very convincing, had you all excited and worked up.”, Bowen said.
Bowen, a 66-year old living on disability, wrote a $997 check on the spot for a 3-day educational course. She was interested because of Georgia’s progress in legalizing marijuana. The state made growing and selling restricted quantities of medical marijuana legal and lawmakers have acknowledged a bill to extend that to recreational use.
“My interest was if it becomes legal in Georgia I wanted to know how to grow it,” Bowen said.
After writing the check, she got a call from her son, who told her: “‘Don’t give them any money. It’s a scam.’”
Bowen promptly contacted the company and canceled the class and has the email correspondence to verify the company agreed not to cash her check. But, she said, “They cashed my check anyway.” She was so angry that she flew to Southern California to get her money back.
She went to the company she had made the check out to – First Investment Capital headquartered in Orange, California. Unfortunately, all she found was “an empty building. Then I said okay, what is my next move going to be? Because I’m not a quitter.”
Her next move turned out to be a trip to Chicago. Bowen saw a Facebook post promoting the same seminars at hotels in Oak Lawn, Naperville, and Rosemont. She contacted CBS 2 Investigators, a local Chicago news team and told them about the scam. CBS reporter, Dorothy Tucker went undercover and attended the seminar.
Meanwhile, Bowen showed up at the seminar in Oak Lawn to inform attendees about what she went through. “I came here to warn you, people,” she said. She advised a group of Chicagoans attending the free seminar, “Don’t give them your money.”
Meantime, inside the packed seminar, Tucker reported listening to slick salesperson says things like: “From this point on, you start changing your life.”; promises of earning quick cash, “Who wants to make $30,000 in the next 30 days?”; and finally, the sell: “$997, and you get two people and all the information you need.”
The Better Business Bureau in California is now launching an investigation on Cannabis Talk Network after calls from CBS 2 Investigators.
Watch this report by Dorothy Tucker for CBS 2 Chicago.