The man who once ran South Dakota's scandal-ridden investment-for-visa program was sentenced Wednesday to probation and a fine after reaching an agreement with prosecutors in the high-profile financial misconduct case.
Joop Bollen, 53, pleaded guilty to one of five felony counts and was sentenced to two years of probation and a $2,000 fine, Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a statement.
Bollen, of Aberdeen, pleaded not guilty in June to the felony charges that accused him of diverting more than $1.2 million from an account created as part of a contract with the state to protect it against costs or liability from South Dakota's EB-5 visa program. Authorities said he put back most of the money.
Bollen's attorney, Reed Rasmussen, said the plea agreement was fair after the judge denied a motion to dismiss Bollen's indictment. If Bollen successfully completes the probation, his record will be sealed and he will not be a convicted felon, Rasmussen said.
"I think he still feels that the prosecution should never have been brought, but since it was, that we had to deal with it," Rasmussen said.
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