Helios Raphael Dayspring charged with bribing a SLO County Supervisor and IRS Fraud

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Helios Raphael Dayspring (35), the founder of the Natural Healing Center, a cannabis retailer, has pleaded guilty to bribery and failing to report millions of dollars in income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to the Department of Justice, Dayspring, who has shops in Grover Beach and Morro Bay, has been charged in Federal Court and agreed to pay $3.4 million in restitution to the IRS and cooperate in an ongoing government investigation.

Referring to his plea agreement, Dayspring admitted to bribing former San Luis Obispo County District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill to further his cannabis businesses.

Hill was found dead at his home in Pismo Beach on Aug. 6, 2020. The San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s Office ruled his death a suicide.

In March 2020, Hill was hospitalized for what he said was an attempted suicide. That same day the FBI carried out a search warrant at the San Luis Obispo County Government Center. Neither Hill nor the FBI would comment on the investigation at the time.

The current charges against Dayspring are reportedly part of an ongoing public corruption investigation in SLO County.

Later in August 2020, Natural Healing Center announced Dayspring was stepping down as CEO “to devote his energy and attention to other personal avenues of opportunity.”

Natural Healing Center also has a location in Lemoore and plans to add shops in San Luis Obispo and Turlock.

In April 2020, Hill resigned his position as Chair of the Board of Supervisors but resumed his duties as District 3 Supervisor.

Dayspring reportedly started bribing Hill in the fall of 2016, paying him a total of $32,000 in cash and money orders. In exchange, federal prosecutors say Hill voted multiple times in favor of legislation that permitted Dayspring’s cannabis farms to operate before he had obtained final permitting approvals.

Dayspring also admitted to trying to bribe the mayor of Grover Beach in 2017 in exchange for two dispensary licenses. John Shoals was the mayor at that time and reportedly did not respond to the $100,000 offer, and Dayspring did not pay the bribe.

Federal officials say Dayspring also admitted to underreporting his personal income on his federal tax returns for four years, resulting in the IRS losing more than $3.4 million in tax revenue.

Dayspring is scheduled to make his first court appearance in this case in Los Angeles in August.

Once he officially pleads guilty to the charges, officials say Dayspring will face a maximum sentence of 13 years in federal prison.

Federal officials ask anyone who has information related to this case or any other public corruption matter in San Luis Obispo County to email the FBI’s tip line at 

pctips-losangeles@fbi.gov or call the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310)477-6565.