President of Portland medical marijuana organization pleads guilty to tax evasion

May 18th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

stanford.JPGView full sizePaul Stanford pleaded guilty to tax evasion today in Marion County Court. Stanford, president of Portland-based The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, appears in his marijuana garden in this Oregonian file photo from 2008.The president and founder of a Portland-based medical marijuana organization pleaded guilty today to one count of personal income tax evasion.

Paul Stanford, 50, was sentenced in Marion County Court to 18 months of probation and 160 hours of community service, the state attorney general’s office announced.

Stanford leads The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a national nonprofit that he founded in 1999. The organization’s website shows it now funds clinics in at least 10 states and the District of Columbia that together have served more than 150,000 people.

Attorney General John Kroger applauded Stanford’s conviction. “Paying taxes is not optional,” Kroger said.

Kroger’s office prosecuted the case after Stanford was arrested in March.

Officials discovered Stanford hadn’t filed income taxes while investigating his organization for violating state and federal charity laws. The group has filed only sporadic financial reports, officials said.

The IRS revoked the organization’s tax-exempt status in 2010 and assessed more than $1 million in payroll taxes, according to the attorney general’s office. The organization also reportedly owes back taxes to the Oregon Department of Revenue.

–Molly Young

Article source: