Former Decathlete Jailed for Cannabis Scam and Spending $8 Million Profits in Casino

11 Dec

A former UCLA decathlete has been jailed for 17.5 years for his part in a cannabis vape pen fraud. David Joseph Bunevacz, 53, of Calabasas, was found guilty of fraud after scamming as much as $45 million from investors. Judge Dale S. Fischer ordered the American-Filipino to pay $35,267,851 in restitution.

Bunevacz is unlikely to have the funds to repay the restitution if the rumours are true that he spent as much as $8 million of stolen funds in various casinos and even $330,000 on a race horse.

Last July, the US Attorney’s Office announced that Bunevacz was prepared to plead guilty to two federal crimes—one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. The prosecution alleged that Bunevacz’s scam goes back as far as 2010 when he began courting investors, claiming that he had a relationship with a Chinese manufacturer of disposable vape pens. He was said to have forged bank statements and other documents to embellish his business standing.

More than 10 investors fell for the charms of Bunevacz and handed over between $37,166,737 to $45,068,227 with the total losses incurred estimated to be $28,409,112.

The PhilStar reported that Bunevacz “…used the funds for his own opulent lifestyle, including a luxurious house in Los Angeles, Las Vegas trips, jewellery, designer handbags, a lavish birthday party for his daughter, and horses.”

Not the First Brush with the Law

This case is not the first time that David Bunevacz has had a brush with the law. He was sued in 2010 for a ticket sales scam. He failed to provide 17,000 tickets to the Winter Olympics that an agent paid him $3 million for.

He was sentenced to 360 days in jail with 300 hours of community service followed by three years on probation.

In fact, the resolution of this case factored into the cannabis vape pen scam. Bunevacz was ordered to pay $325,000 to the aggrieved party but he showed his investors that the court decision went in his favour.

In 2007, Bunevacz and his wife Jessica Rodriguez were accused of embezzlement after allegedly squandering funds from the aesthetic and cosmetic surgery clinic Beverly Hills 6750 in Manilla, Philippines.

The pair were accused of funding an extravagant lifestyle from stolen funds which led to Bunevacz being physically assaulted by his partners. This incident led to the family fleeing to the United States where it appears Bunevacz continued to involve himself in shady business practices.

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