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Vermont’s Largest White Collar Fraud of All time: The Ponzi scheme of Jay Peak

Jay Peak one of the most beloved ski resorts in Vermont was the sight of the largest Ponzi schemes of all time. The developers promised a luxurious $110 million dollar ski project. In order to raise the funds, the developers used the EB-5 program to scam foreign investors. The federal EB-5 program allows immigrant investors to obtain permanent residency if certain requirements are fulfilled. The EB-5 visa requires an investor to invest at least $500,000 and create 10 jobs for a period of time.

Ariel Quiros and his co-defendants obtained around $85 million from 169 EB-5 investors for the Jay Peak project. Quiros mislead investors on how the funds would be used, the amount of jobs it would create, and the progress in order to create greater confidence and additional funding.

Quiros admitted to conspiring to commit wire fraud to obtain money through false pretenses, money laundering, and concealment of material information for failing to disclose a business partner Jong Weon Choi. Choi, a South Korean businessman was detained for being a hidden partner in the Vermont investment deal under the name of AnC Vermont project. Quiros attempted to conceal Choi’s involvement in the project as he was under investigation in Korea for financial crimes.

Quiros and Choi created a scheme to fraud investors in giving them money. They would provide investors with use of fund charts to entice them to invest in the Jay Peak project. The charts would contain misrepresented amount of funds they would expect to receive the a fake time line in which they expect those funds.

Because it was marketed as an EB-5 program, the timing of the project was very important. In order for EB-5 investors to apply and receive a green card, the federal government has certain guidelines that are time sensitive. Quiros understood this and admitted to misrepresenting the timeline in order to attract investments. Quiros promised that the project would satisfy the EB-5 job creation standards.

Promised verses Reality

The Jay Peak Project promised a lot to investors. It was supposed to be a world class ski resort and much more. The AnC Vermont group claimed that it would not only be a great place for skiers, but also be a world renowned place of science and technology. They lured investors with plans of stem cell therapy and manufacturing artificial organs.

Instead, Quiros use the investor’s money for personal gain, including paying off a personal loan at Citibank. It is estimated that Quiros and his co-conspirators misused at least $200 million of the $800 million raised for the project. For the largest fraud in Vermont history Quiros was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison.

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