With just days left in the legislative session, lawmakers are looking to limit taxpayer funding for the EB-5 foreign investor program.
The Vermont EB-5 Regional Center has been supported by general fund dollars up to now. Lawmakers say they want developers who solicit $500,000 investments from immigrant investors through the EB-5 program to pay fees that would go toward the cost of running the center.
New proposed language also gives the Department of Financial Regulation permanent oversight of the program.
The language, which is part of the fee bill, H.872, also requires the regional center to make every effort to recoup fees not collected from Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, the EB-5 project developers who have been accused of perpetrating a massive fraud in the Northeast Kingdom. The two businessmen allegedly diverted $200 million out of a total of $350 million in immigrant investor funds that were supposed to be used for construction projects. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Vermont Attorney General have both charged the developers with misuse of funds. As a result of the alleged fraud, the immigration status of several hundred investors is now in jeopardy.
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