The EB-5 visa is an immigration program that offers foreign investors a path to immigration through investments into American development projects that provide jobs and economic growth. This particular visa has often come under government scrutiny due to allegations of EB-5 fraud. While this program has provided funding for successful New York projects, there are others that never came to fruition due to allegations of illegal activity.
Recently, one woman entered a guilty plea to charges that she committed fraud through this program. An investigation into her business has determined that the woman's investment company purportedly provided green card opportunities to foreign investors to whom she would later refund a substantial portion of the minimum investment. She then allegedly used the funds that she retained for her own personal use, including purchasing at least two private residences.
The woman, who worked as an attorney, admitted that she received funds from an estimated 130 Chinese investors, some of whom were being sought by Chinese officials for undisclosed crimes. The woman has agreed to relinquish her rights to several properties during the course of the federal investigation, with at least one more property expected to be forfeited in the near future. The 35-year-old woman's father is also being investigated for possible involvement in the fraud.
The woman has been charged with conspiracy to commit several crimes including EB-5 fraud, international money laundering and wire fraud. She will be sentenced in July of 2018 and could be ordered to serve a maximum of 45 years. While the majority of investment projects do fulfill the requirements of this federal visa program, New York investors who are concerned that they may have been a victim of potential fraud are entitled to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can ensure that their rights are protected.
Source: sgvtribune.com, "South El Monte lawyer pleads guilty to $50M EB-5 visa-fraud scheme in San Gabriel", Christopher Yee, Nov. 27, 2017