EVERETT — Two more people have been accused of deceiving just about everybody to acquire real estate and open a marijuana shop.
According to allegations recently filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, James Koory, 55, and Henry Jacky, 56, were in on a deal to trick property owners into selling a retail building and lying to a bank to obtain a $1.5 million Small Business Administration loan.
They are charged with first-degree theft.
The convoluted web of fiction, prosecutors say, was all to open Mari J’s Highway Pot Shop off Highway 527.
The deception reportedly began in September 2013, when a broker, 57-year-old Conrado Topacio, entered a listing agreement with the former property owners. He appeared to lie constantly, sometimes cutting off communication, and kept potential buyers away, prosecutors allege.
While Topacio hid his involvement, Koory and Jacky acted as the frontmen, according to charges. In February 2014, Topacio forwarded a $1.95 million offer from them, though they would be credited back $450,000 for renovations and closing costs. They officially bought the property a month later.
Afterward, Koory and Jacky formed CHJ Properties LLC and CHJ Food Services to manage the property. Topacio’s name was apparently added to a business license filed with the state later that year.
To obtain the SBA loan, the defendants told Coastal Community Bank they were opening a country-theme bar called the Stomping Grounds Restaurant, according to charging papers.
To gain credibility, Topacio allegedly forged a Seattle restaurateur’s name on documents, claiming she was a 19 percent owner of CHJ Properties. The woman later told investigators she had never heard of Stomping Grounds, but she had previously worked with Topacio.
The defendants never mentioned any plans for a cannabis shop when working with the bank, documents say.
The SBA, a federal agency, prohibits its loans from being used for anything involving marijuana.
The men were approved for the loan. To get disbursements from the bank, they falsified invoices, including ones from a coffee company and a contractor, according to the charges.
They allegedly funneled the money to the owner of Mari J’s Highway Pot Shop. The store opened in August 2015. As of December, it was still in operation.
Koory and Jacky are scheduled for arraignment at the end of the month.
Topacio has a court appearance set for May. He remains charged with first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft.