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Dayspring sentenced to 22 months for bribery, tax fraud 

Central Coast cannabis magnate Helios Dayspring received a 22-month prison sentence on May 27, putting a capstone on a public corruption case that shook San Luis Obispo County for a year.

Federal judge André Birotte Jr. handed down the sentence at a hearing in downtown Los Angeles. He sided with U.S. prosecutors that Dayspring deserved prison time for his charges of bribing a public official and filing false tax returns.

"What's troubling about this case is it goes to the heart of government process," Birotte said during the hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Last July, Dayspring pleaded guilty to bribing late SLO County 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill with payments totaling $32,000—a practice that gave him and his cannabis company Natural Healing Center a leg up in the county's fledging industry.

click to enlarge SENTENCED Local cannabis businessman Helios Dayspring was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison on May 27 for his role in public corruption. - FILE SCREENSHOT
  • File Screenshot
  • SENTENCED Local cannabis businessman Helios Dayspring was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison on May 27 for his role in public corruption.

Dayspring also admitted to attempting to bribe former Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals, offering $100,000 in exchange for cannabis dispensary licenses, but Shoals did not accept the 2017 bribe made over dinner, according to the plea deal.

By filing false tax returns, Dayspring also defrauded the IRS of nearly $3.5 million between 2014 and 2018, according to prosecutors, which gave him an additional competitive advantage of having more capital to expand his businesses.

In court filings filed ahead of the May 27 sentencing hearing, U.S. attorneys said: "Dayspring had one goal: build a cannabis empire. To accomplish that goal, he would not let anything get in his way, including the law."

In handing down the 22-month sentence, Birotte rejected arguments from Dayspring's attorneys that he should avoid prison time and serve probation instead due to his cooperation in the federal investigation.

Dayspring was ordered to surrender for his prison term by Aug. 26. Δ

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