Owners of marijuana business plead guilty to not paying more than $3 million in taxes

DENVER — The owners of a Colorado Springs marijuana business have pleaded guilty to not paying more than $3 million in federal taxes, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Andrew Poarch, 31, of Colorado Springs pleaded guilty Feb. 13 to filing a false federal income tax return, U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn and Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation special agent in charge Steven Osborne said.

Prosecutors said Poarch and his wife opened a marijuana business in Colorado Springs in January 2013.

From January 2013 to August 2016, the couple owned, operated and managed The Lazy Lion. Officials said customers could go to the store and join a private club by signing a customer agreement.

The agreement allowed members to visit the business and acquire marijuana at a set price. The fee structure included a one-time initial membership fee, an entry fee for each subsequent visit and a set fee for each purchase.

The Lazy Lion never registered as a recreational dispensary within the state, officials said.

The cash-only business used a point-of-sale program to record the receipt of all cash funds. During the investigation, it was determined the business had gross revenues of nearly $10.8 million, officials said.

On Sept. 29, 2015, Poarch and his wife signed an individual income tax return that said their 2014 adjusted gross income was $19,294 when in fact it was more than $2.8 million.

Poarch and his wife did not file personal income tax returns for 2015 and 2016, failing to pay the more than $3.1 million in taxes, officials said.

Poarch was charged on Dec. 20 and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22.

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