A federal grand jury in Philadelphia today indicted a Pennsylvania man on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and three counts of tax fraud. He was previously charged with wire and mail fraud in an indictment unsealed on January 3, 2023.
According to the superseding indictment, John Griffin of Philadelphia was the principal and founder of Second Story Farming Inc., doing business as Metropolis Farms, a business involved in the development and production of sustainable permanent agriculture technologies. Between 2016 and 2018, Griffin made misrepresentations by promising to provide the two components necessary to create indoor vertical farms. In total, both parties paid Griffin $760,000, which Griffin allegedly used to buy equipment. The remainder was allegedly used to operate Griffin’s business and pay his personal expenses.
The superseding indictment alleges that from 2016 to 2018, Griffin earned at least $420,000 in gross income for Second Story Farming and failed to report it on his federal tax returns and at least one personal tax return. 2014. Griffin allegedly attempted to evade income taxes by personally withdrawing funds from commercial bank accounts and transferring funds from commercial bank accounts to his wife and entities she controlled.
If convicted, Griffin faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of wire and mail fraud and 5 years in prison for each count of tax fraud. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other legal factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and Representative Jacqueline C. Romero of Pennsylvania’s Eastern District.
IRS-Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Service and the FBI are investigating the case.
District Attorney Catriona Koppler of the Tax Division and Assistant District Attorney David Ignall of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.
Charges are only charges and all accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.