A Chicago-based immigration attorney was hit with a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionlawsuit Thursday accusing him of funneling some of the nearly $89 million he collected from EB-5 visa holders into his own pockets instead of using the money to build senior living facilities as promised.
Taher Kameli operated a scheme between 2009 and 2016 to raise funds from mostly Chinese and Iranian backers to invest in the construction of senior living facilities in Illinois and Florida, according to the SEC.
He sold the investments as an opportunity for immigrants to gain permanent U.S. residency through the EB-5 visa program, which encourages immigrants to make large investments in the U.S. economy.
But he put the immigrants’ visas in jeopardy, the government says, by diverting assets from one property to another and lining his and his brother’s pockets through millions of dollars of hidden fees and unauthorized transactions.
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