In August of last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asked a state bordering New York to provide certain information regarding a visa fraud investigation. The USCIS investigation is said to be the largest EB-5 fraud inquiry in the country's history. Recently, there has been a new twist in the investigation.
The project that attracted all of the attention is a now-defunct development project at a well-known ski area. According to the allegations, the owners of the project defrauded investors of more than $200 million. With respect to the ski area development, the state submitted a small portion of the records requested by USCIS, from which pertinent information was redacted -- a move that is said to have spurred discussion about closing the state's regional EB-5 center entirely. Now, the new state governor has apparently taken the stance that cooperation may be the better approach in order to preserve the state's participation in the federal visa program.
Before the recent developments in this Vermont investigation, a local media source sued in order to gain access to the information concerning how much the state government knew about the alleged EB-5 fraud. As a result, an official claimed that the state was unable to fulfill the request due to the ongoing litigation. That reservation appears to no longer be a concern since officials have promised the release of even more documents.
In addition to the ski resort, USCIS had concerns about another project as well, a now defunct water purifying manufacturer. At this time, the investigation is ongoing, and the future of the visa program in the state remains unclear. New York residents or investors who have concerns that they may have been the victim of suspected fraud may seek the advice of an immigration attorney experienced in addressing concerns about EB-5 fraud.
Source: vtdigger.org, "Scott releases EB-5 records; Feds threatened to shut down state program", Anne Galloway and Alan J. Keays, Feb. 15, 2017