Eddie Grayver of Money Matters and his partner, Manish Patel of Sentient Law Group are being sued for theft of services, according to people familiar with the matter. Theft of services is the legal term for a crime which is committed when a person obtains valuable services — as opposed to goods — by deception, force, threat or other unlawful means, i.e., without lawfully compensating the provider for these services.
The defendants, Eddie Grayver also representing Manish Patel engaged a firm, the plaintiff, to complete the preparation of investment materials. After the course of numerous meetings and versions, after which information had been modified to the expressed preferences of Eddie and Manish, along with promises to pay verbally – failed to pay once downloading the digital product rendered. Despite having access to earlier versions of materials and making commitments to pay, the group immediately seized all contact once the final deliverable was received.
According to the plaintiff contractor, Eddie Grayver and Manish Patel were purporting to raise money for a Cannabis cultivation operation, a scheme that the plaintiff claims that Eddie and Manish deliberately structured to avoid anti-vertical integration policies established by California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The MMRSA establishes numerous restrictions intended to prevent vertical integration, including the requirement that licensees may only hold licenses in up to two separate categories.
Eddie Grayver and Manish Patel retained a company responsible for the creation of materials for this purpose. After a series of meetings and phone calls, the materials were delivered, after which the group engaged multiple rounds of comments and discussions to get the materials to the point at which the defendants expressed their satisfaction. During this period, Manish Patel explicitly stated that he would make the final payment on Saturday. However, he failed to make the payment on Saturday and when contacted about this investment the following week, stated that he was out of town and would make the payment when he got back.
However, Mr. Patel did not make the payment at all and once the final work product was downloaded was unavailable for contact. The defendant moved to sue Mr. Patel for a theft of services rendered. According to the plaintiff, “the fact that Mr. Patel promised and failed to pay by his own ultimatum on two occasions, and after receiving the materials, is a clear indication that this is a case of theft.” Both defendants were unavailable for immediate contact.
According to the plaintiff, “it is not customary to release work products in an editable format until the client pays the full amount. In almost every instance where we release an editable working product, a theft of service case is the result. We typically upload all materials to an encrypted service that also prevents downloading, copy/pasting, and any other alterations until the client fully pays. In the case of the defendants, we trusted that they would pay the remaining balance based on their verbal promises to do so and our very close and collaborative working terms during the course of the three month engagement.” However, Eddie and Manish failed to make the final payment at the time when the final materials were downloaded and verified to be downloaded based on the website transfer service, WeTransfer.
In-fact, Manish Patel and Eddie Grayver were in frequent contact with the company and able to see all materials and provide collaborative feedback over the course of several months.
Communication ended the instant that the defendants both downloaded the final materials in an editable form. This article does not assume that Manish and Eddie had the indent of theft or deception.