Connecting Alaska to the World And the World to Alaska
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Defendant accepts plea deal in cannabis-venture wire fraud case

Brian and Candy Corty bought and renovated the old Midway Lodge at Richardson Highway milepost 315 Richardson Highway, and they intended to convert it into what they called a marijuana theme park. But they were unable to complete the project. After they shut it down, thieves stole the large marijuana leaf, and vandalized the building, located at
Tim Ellis/KUAC
Brian and Candy Corty bought and renovated the old Midway Lodge at Richardson Highway milepost 315 and intended to convert it into what they called a marijuana theme park. After they shut the building down, thieves vandalized it and stole the large marijuana leaf in upper right. An Alaska State Troopers spokesperson says they're investigating the case.

Delta Junction man agrees to one wire-fraud count, restitution for investors in ‘Bud and Breakfast’ project

A Delta Junction man has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to settle a case in which he was charged with defrauding investors out of more than $700,000 dollars they thought would be used to develop a cannabis business in Salcha.

Brian Corty/Facebook

Brian Corty and his wife, Candy, bought the old Midway Lodge several years ago so they and their investors from around the country could transform it into a so-called cannabis theme park they intended to call a Bud and Breakfast.

The Cortys began soliciting prospective investors in 2017 to buy into the venture, which they described as a place where they could cultivate and sell marijuana, and customers could consume it on-site. But FBI investigators say the Cortys enticed the investors with unrealistically inflated estimates on the profits the project would generate.

The investigators say the Cortys used false and fraudulent claims to get at least 22 people to invest a total of $722,000 in a company called Ice Fog Holdings, which Brian Corty managed. Investigators said the company, quote, “had no meaningful current or prospective revenue stream and little to no prospect to obtain a license from the Alaska Marijuana Control Office.” unquote.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted the Cortys in April on four federal wire fraud-related charges. And last month, 53-year-old Brian Corty accepted the prosecutor’s offer to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in exchange for dropping the other charges against him and all charges against his wife.

Corty still insists he’s never intended to defraud the investors, but said in a brief interview Monday that he agreed to the plea deal mainly to clear his wife’s name.

“The prosecutors gave that as an offer,” he said.

Under the terms of the deal, Corty agrees to plead guilty to being part of a conspiracy to commit wire fraud from January 2017 to January 2020; and that he acted knowingly and with the intent to defraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bradley is the lead prosecutor in the case. He’s recommended a sentence of up to three years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release. Corty also will have to pay a total of up to 600-thousand dollars in restitution to 19 victims who say he defrauded them. He also could face fines.

A U.S. Attorney’s office spokesperson said Judge Ralph Beistline will be presiding over the May 3rd sentencing, and he’ll have to formally agree to the terms of the prosecutor’s offer during that proceeding.

Tim Ellis has been working as a KUAC reporter/producer since 2010. He has more than 30 years experience in broadcast, print and online journalism.