A Lehi man who previously owned Sammy’s Cafe in Provo was charged with reportedly convincing family and friends to invest thousands in a nonexistent marijuana farm.
Samuel Harris Schultz, 37, is facing 13 counts of communications fraud and 13 counts of theft by deception, all second-degree felonies. The 26 charges were filed in 4th District Court on Thursday.
In July 2017, Schultz was “in a music band” and met a man who acted as an agent and secured venues for the band’s performances.
“While doing a performance in the Marshall Islands, (the man) told Schultz that if he invested $50,000 in a marijuana farm, (the man) would get him a return of $285,000 in six weeks,” charging documents state.
Schultz reportedly made the payment and invested an additional “$30,000 for a promised return of $637,000 in three weeks and $45,000 with a promised return of a $2 million dollars in three weeks.”
In all, he paid $125,000 to the man, but the agent pushed back payment dates and demanded more money to protect the investment, court documents reported.
Between December 2017 and May 2018, Schultz reportedly asked family and friends to invest in the marijuana farm. He personally guaranteed the payments and promised double and triple returns on investments, according to charging documents.
“(He) represented that the farm was legal despite having no knowledge of the farm which ultimately proved non-existent, and said that he had previously invested in the farm and been paid back with generous returns as promised,” prosecutors wrote.
But Schultz did not tell he had never received any return on his payments and their money would be used to guarantee his initial investment.
The Provo Police Department discovered Schultz reportedly obtained $323,000 in total from 13 people, and each person gave at least $5,000, court documents state.
Schultz then gave all the money to the agent in cash, but neither he or the 13 people have received any returns from the man, prosecutors reported.
He previously owned Sammy’s, a popular burger joint in downtown Provo known for “pieshakes.” Court documents show he failed to pay for advertising placed in a Utah County magazine in 2008.
In 2012, Schultz co-founded Seventy3 Events, a marketing firm for organizing music events, live concerts and music management. He also previously organized music events like the “Newphoria,” a New Year’s Eve dance at Utah Valley University.