The EB-5 immigrant investment program is ripe for change following a scheme linked to a South Florida businessman that bilked investors of hundreds of millions of dollars, attorneys said.
"Even though it has been very successful in bringing development and jobs, [the program] is in need of certain reform, particularly reform that would allow more integrity and more oversight," said Roy Carrasquillo, a New York attorney with Fox Rothschild who represents developers seeking investment through EB-5 and prospective regional centers.
The EB-5 program helps foreigners obtain U.S. residency in exchange for a $500,000 investment in a job-creating enterprise. The Jay Peak project to expand a Vermont ski resort and build a biomedical research center raised $350 million in EB-5 funds from about 700 investors.
Resort owner Ariel Quiros of Key Biscayne and company president Bill Stenger of Vermont face Securities and Exchange Commission charges in Miami federal court for allegedly diverting $200 million of the funds, including $50 million for Quiros' personal benefit.
Michael Goldberg of Akerman in Miami is serving as the receiver for Jay Peak. Stenger and Quiros were locked out of the resorts, and Goldberg is running them as the civil case proceeds.
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