Raymond James & Associates agreed to pay almost $6 million to settle charges from Vermont financial regulators that investments related to a ski resort violated state laws, making it the latest penalty to hit the fast growing brokerage.
The charges are connected to Jay Peak, a ski resort in northern Vermont, which is at the center of allegations by the SEC that two businessmen misused about $200 million of $350 million of investor funds.
Earlier this year, the SEC filed charges against Ariel Quiros and William Stenger, the owner and CEO of Jay Peak, saying that they took advantage of immigrants seeking permanent residency in the country through a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service program for investors.
The immigrants were investing Limited Liability Partnerships, and were told that their investments would be used in connection to Jay Peak. Instead, Quiros and Stenger used about $200 million in ways they were not permitted to, the SEC says, including about $50 million for Quiros' personal expenses. In April, the regulator froze the assets of Jay Peak and related businesses.
In May, an SEC-appointed receiver — who is charged with recovering investors' lost funds — filed a lawsuit against Raymond James & Associates and its parent company, Raymond James Financial, for allegedly enabling the scheme through lax supervision.
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