How a Lamborghini-driving Grifter scammed dozens of investors out of $35 million in a fake weed business

The life of David Bunevacz seemed too good to be true.

The handsome international sportsman who represented UCLA and the Philippines in the decathlon roared around Los Angeles I drove back to my wife’s (former model) and daughter’s (model) home in a yellow Lamborghini for a lavish party at the mansion they once owned. kylie jenner.

To his friends, he was a jet-set businessman, involved in California’s booming marijuana business, including them generously in his lucrative deals.

After Bunevacz was arrested last year and charged with $35 million in fraud, the pristine image fell apart when friends learned that Bunevacz’s seemingly golden presence was actually a fake.

David Bunevacz and his wife Jessica Rodriguez lived a life of luxury before being sentenced to 17 years in prison for $35 million in fraud.

Bunevatz and his family lived in this Calabasas mansion previously owned by Kylie Jenner

Bunevac’s remarkable rise and fall began in Los Angeles, where he was born – the son of Hungarian restaurateur Joseph Bunevac and Philomena, a Filipino nurse who moved to California from the Philippines in the late 1960s. .

Young David was a star in high school track and field, excelling in the high jump, javelin and hurdles.

He represented the Philippines at the 1997 Southeast Asian Games and finished second in the decathlon.

Bunevacz settled in Manila and worked in television co-hosting sports and travel television shows, earning several minor acting parts.

He met his wife, Jessica Rodriguez, a model and talent manager, and opened a plastic surgery clinic in Manila in 2006.

Jessica Rodriguez is pictured with her daughter Breana, who is also a model and equestrian

However, business soon took a turn for the worse. Bunevacz was accused of deceiving investors, beaten, threatened at gunpoint, and forced to contract Porsche Cayenne for his Turbo. los angeles times.

He and his wife fled the country and returned to California.

Jessica wrote a book for ‘sophisticated women’

When Bunevacz told one friend the story of their departure, he was, on paper, “a bit of a mixture of Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones.”

Bunevacz appeared to be successful in Los Angeles.

His wife has written a book about getting married “successfully” – a manual for what she calls “sophisticated women.”

In 2008, he partnered with Atlanta ticket broker Gene Hammett to launch a bold plan to secure tickets for the Beijing Olympics.

Hammett was a charming and outgoing businessman. Bnewatz invited Hammett to his suite at the Byrds Nest his stadium, where he watched Bolt break the world record in his 100-meter dash.

Bunevacz told Hammett he could get tickets to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Hammett paid him $2.9 million for 17,000 copies.

The ticket never arrived.

Hammett was sued and bankrupt. he lost his home

Gamily is often pictured on luxury vacations

Prosecutors displayed Jessica’s collection of shoes and handbags

Meanwhile, Bnewatz ripped off Hammett’s cash. The money went to Tiffany & Co., Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Giorgio Armani, Hermès, the Ritz-Carlton Spa in Georgia and the Baccarat resort in Santa Barbara, Hammett’s attorney Filippo Marquino said.

Bunevacz’s account at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas received a large sum of money, including $125,000 just before Christmas.

Another Hammett attorney, Damon Rogers, said, “As soon as he got the money, he just burned it.

The lawsuit was settled four years later for just $325,000.

Meanwhile, Bunevacz’s fraudulent activities continued.

Around 2010, he stumbled upon another scam. He offered investors an “opportunity” to buy the company, he claimed, buying Ark his pens from China and reselling them in the United States for a sizable markup.

He convinced dozens of friends and acquaintances, including a dentist, to invest.

The money was not used for business.

His daughter Breanna threw a $218,000 party for her 16th birthday.

Held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Brentwood, it featured rapper Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.

She bought a $330,000 horse named Vondel, and the elite show jumping circle she moved into gave her access to other people her father tricked her into.

Breanna Bunevacz and her $300,000 horse Vondel – her YSL bag at the stable

Breanna and one of her horses in motion

Breanna has carved out a career as a model, appearing in the TV series Modeling with Yolanda Hadid, the mother of Bella and Gigi.

In January 2019, he threw a lavish party for his wife in Nobu, Malibu, and commissioned a “Crazy Rich Asians” style poster promoting the bash.

The shopping continued. At a jewelry store in Beverly Hills, Bunevacz purchased his diamond earrings for $209,500. $195,000 diamond ring. Rolex Submariner Watch He $14,215. Three bracelets and two Hermès Birkin bags cost him $46,500.

Jeffrey Elliott, a Sheriff’s Department detective on Chatsworth’s fraud team, eventually obtains a search warrant to raid the Calabasas mansion.

Detectives seized the files and documents used to prosecute Bunevacz.

He was arrested in April and pleaded guilty to fraud in July.

In November, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to repay $35 million he defrauded from more than 100 investors.

His victims are considered unlikely to see their money again.

The FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Securities and Exchange Commission participated in the investigation.

Elliot, in his arrest warrant, called Bunevatz a “circuit fraudster” who falsified financial records to defraud millions of investors.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fisher, who sentenced him in November, said he feels no remorse for the life he’s ruined, surpassing the sentence recommended by prosecutors. .

“His aim was to provide himself and his family with a very luxurious lifestyle, which he flaunted on social media.

“I am not at all sure that Mr. Bunevats regrets anything other than being caught.” How a Lamborghini-driving Grifter scammed dozens of investors out of $35 million in a fake weed business

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