Disbarred Lawyer Cons Investors Out of $18 Million

Hemp farm where lawyer conned investors out of $18 million
Photo: MexChriss / Shutterstock

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – A disbarred lawyer with multiple previous fraud convictions admitted to bilking investors out of $18.4 million to fund a nonexistent hemp farm, infused retail products, and a bottling business.

The schemes were just the latest in Mark Roy Anderson’s conman career, which has spanned more than three decades. Anderson, 69, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in April and agreed to forfeit fifteen vintage and luxury cars for which he paid $650,000; a $1.3-million gated residence in Ojai, California, and other ill-gotten gains. He also faces up to forty years in prison when he faces a judge for sentencing on August 23.


According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Anderson pursued the first of the two most recent schemes shortly after his 2019 release from federal prison, while on home confinement to complete his sentence for a multimillion-dollar oil investment scam. The second con took shape while Anderson was on supervised release for a separate fraud conviction.

In the first scheme, from June 2020 to April 2021, Anderson tricked investors into funding Harvest Farm Group, an operation he claimed to own and operate in Kern County, California. He falsely stated the farm was profitable and used owned equipment to convert biomass into medical-quality CBD isolate and delta-8. When that scam fell apart, he moved on to soliciting investments in Bio Pharma and Verta Bottling, neither of which existed. Between April 2021 and May 2023, Anderson claimed the businesses manufactured and sold infused edibles, topicals, and beverages. He also claimed to own an assignable lease on a large warehouse and produced counterfeit purchase orders for products totalling $10 million to make the businesses seem legit.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Anderson scammed forty-five investors across both schemes and diverted everything they invested for personal use, including $13,000 for chartered private jet flights and $142,000 for merchandise from high-end retailers.