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Business-Loan Kingpin Sentenced to 10 Years for Smuggling Weed

May 28, 2019, 8:50 PM

Jonathan Braun, a marijuana trafficker who built a predatory lending company while free on bail, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on drug-smuggling charges.

Braun, 36, had pleaded guilty in 2011, but his sentencing was delayed without explanation. In the interim, he became a major player in what’s called the merchant cash-advance industry.

From the Manhattan office of Richmond Capital Group LLC, he advanced money to small businesses across the country at interest rates that would exceed 400% on an annual basis. In interviews for a Bloomberg News story last year, a dozen borrowers said Braun had cheated them, ...