Developer Ariel Quiros has agreed to plead guilty to three of the 12 charges against him in the AnC Bio Vermont case. The project raised over $80 million of EB-5 money from over 160 investors. Federal prosecutors have agreed to limit imprisonment to 97 months or less. The lawyers of former partner Bill Stenger want to cross-examine Quiros before he is sentenced. The man behind EB-5’s biggest fraud case ever, the Jay Peak scandal, has agreed to a plea agreement in another EB-5 fraud case related to the AnC Bio Vermont medical facility that never was. The project was never built despite drawing in over $80 million from more than 160 EB-5 investors.
COVID-19 pushes Quiros trial to next April
Both Quiros’ attorneys and the judge agreed that holding a 12-member-jury trial would be problematic because of COVID-19 and moved his trial to April 5, 2021.
Lawyers of former partner Stenger want to cross-examine Quiros
Quiros’s former partners Bill Stenger and William Kelly also face charges in the AnC Bio case. While Quiros has agreed to a plea agreement, Stenger vigorously denies any guilt. Stenger’s legal defense is predicated on the notion that Quiros was the man behind the fraud and that Stenger was not privy to or a part of the criminal behaviour. Thus, Stenger’s lawyers want to cross-examine Quiros. However, Stenger’s lawyers object to terms of Quiros’s plea agreement saying that it preclude attempts to question the guilty developer. The challenge with Stenger’s team questioning Quiros hinges on the timing of the latter’s trial. If Quiros is sentenced before Stenger’s trial, Quiros may not be questioned as a witness because of the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; doing so would make his case still pending in spite of his guilty plea. The only way around this would be for Quiros to waive his Fifth Amendment right. Stenger’s team cannot be assured of that actually happening. Thus, to ensure they have the opportunity to question Quiros, Stenger’s counsel are asking the judge to delay his sentencing until their client’s case is decided.
Could cross-examination by Stenger’s team open Quiros up to new state charges?
The judge, Geoffrey Crawford, however, sees potential issues with this; he states that regardless of when Quiros is questioned, he could then face state charges even if the federal case against him is decided. David Williams, one of Stenger’s lawyers, says it would be “ridiculous” to think, at this late point, that a county or state prosecutor would charge Quiros; Williams says that the state has deferred to federal prosecution. Another Stenger lawyer brought up the fact, after the hearing, that the statute of limitations for state charges against Quiros would have expired. Federal prosecutors don’t seem to be in a rush and want to formally respond to the Stenger counsel request after it is made through a court filing. Judge Crawford agrees, saying, “There’s plenty of time to sort it out.” Read the VTDigger story