What do a $175,000 Sea Ray yacht, a brand new $100,000 Mercedes Benz S-550 and a $55,000 BMW X5 SUV all have in common? According to the SEC, they were all items purchased by one Lin Zhong (a/k/a Lily Zhong) with money she fraudulently obtained from investors who were told that their funds were being invested in EB-5 real estate development and construction projects. Zhong also purchased with investor funds homes for herself in Poinciana Florida and Worcester, Massachusetts – all while telling investors that 100% of their funds would be used in construction projects and that all investments would be held in escrow until their EB-5 immigration petitions were approved.
In a civil action filed by the SEC against EB5 Asset Manager, LLC and its owner Lin Zhong in the United States District Court of Southern Florida on November 3, 2015 the SEC alleges that since at least March 2011, Zhong has used several entities that she owns and controls to exploit the EB-5 program, defrauding at least 17 investors out of $8.5 million. See Case 0:15-cv-62323-JAL. U.S. EB-5 Investments LLC, Oakland Office Holdings LLC, and B.X Property Management, among others, are owned and controlled by Zhong and named as relief defendants. The SEC alleges that Zhong has violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a); and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), 15. U.S.C. § 78j(b), and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5.
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