Ariel Quiros — that man behind the infamous Jay Peak EB-5 fraud — is charged with wire fraud and making false statements to the government regarding a Vermont biomedical facility that raised over $80 million from EB-5 investors. His lawyer thinks the developer is taking the fall for a lot of political figures: “This case has been mixed up in the politics of the state and the players have a personal stake in the outcome.”
Modelled after a South Korea biotech facility, AnC Bio Korea, a Vermont facility was proposed to be built for $110 million, including over $80 million of EB-5 capital. But the project never took off. Quiros is one of four defendants charged with fraud, and certainly the most notable one.
His lawyer, Seth Levine, has been outspoken in his criticism of the state’s handling of the case. He has questioned whether his client can receive a fair trial in Vermont and has said he will file to move the trial out of state.
Levine has questioned the disappearance of four months of emails from James Candido, the man who ran the state-run EB5 regional center affiliated with the project: “The government has not scoured the record about a state program where the responsibility for these acts relies on state officials and state and federal politicians.”
The attorney believes that two former Vermont governors, Peter Shumlin and James Douglas, and Sen. Patrick Leahy — all supporters of EB-5 in the state — should be witnesses. Both Shumlin and Leahy wrote letters of support for the Vermont biomedical facility and were included in the offering documents presented to EB-5 investors. Levine seems to imply that the ties to these top politicians are the reason Quiros may not get a fair trial in Vermont.
Levine says the prosecution’s case is predicated on charging the developers and ignoring the state officials responsible for the EB-5 program. His words were very close to describing the situation as a political conspiracy: “The tragedy of this case, is actually to not allow the full story of what happened to come out because it’s not helpful to the theory of the government.”
The politics of the case are certainly murky, if not suspicious. But many would say that the tragedy of this case is that around 160 people were cheated out of their dreams for a Green Card by investment and their money.
Read about the missing records & political ties in the VTDigger story
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