A new lawsuit in the Jay Peak saga uses a legal theory that plaintiffs counsel says is untested in Florida state court: If a financial institution touches money, even for a second, it must try to make sure it isn't being used for fraud.
Jonathan Feldman of Perlman, Bajandas, Yevoli and Albright in Miami filed the case June 3 against Raymond James Financial Inc. on behalf of several immigrant investors in the Jay Peak projects in Vermont, which included ski resort improvements and a biotech plant.
Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros of Key Biscayne and his business partner, Bill Stenger of Vermont, allegedly diverted $200 million of investor funds, including $50 million for Quiros' personal benefit, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The pair raised about $350 million through the EB-5 program, which allows foreigners to invest $500,000 in U.S. job creation in exchange for a visa.
Feldman's Miami-Dade Circuit Court lawsuit claims Raymond James should be held liable for helping Quiros and Stenger defraud investors. As a broker for bank accounts holding investor funds, the St. Petersburg-based company gave Quiros margin loans collateralized with that money.
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