State officials ignored warnings as much as four years ago that the Jay Peak developers had potentially misused immigrant investor funds, documents indicate.
Douglas Hulme, owner of the EB-5 consulting firm Rapid USA Visas, had the ear of state officials in May 2012, public records obtained by VtDigger show, and Hulme had challenged the very business practices that became part of the charges the Securities and Exchange Commission brought this year.
Emails among Hulme, Bill Stenger, who was the CEO and president of Jay Peak, and Lawrence Miller, then secretary of the commerce agency, show officials didn’t act on Hulme’s warnings and instead sought to discredit his company.
It wasn’t until 2015 — three years later — that the state opened an investigation. By that time, federal authorities were already a year deep into their investigation. And it wasn’t until April of this year that state and federal officials charged Stenger and Ariel Quiros with defrauding more than 700 immigrant investors in the EB-5 visa program.
Hulme’s allegations came on the heels of a very public fallout with Stenger. Hulme sent a letter to 100 immigration attorneys on Feb. 28, 2012, warning that he no longer had “confidence in the accuracy of representations made by Jay Peak or in the financial status of and disclosures made by the various limited partnerships at Jay Peak.”
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