Lawyers for a former owner of Jay Peak ski resort accused in a multimillion-dollar fraud case want his trial moved out of state due to what they call “inflammatory pretrial publicity.”
In court papers filed late Tuesday, lawyers for Miami businessman Ariel Quiros say the Vermont media have convicted him before his trial. They say the government and other federal and state politicians “have scapegoated Mr. Quiros to deflect attention from their own involvement.”
Quiros, former Jay Peak president William Stenger and two others were indicted on federal charges over a failed plan to build a biotechnology plant using foreign investors’ money. They’ve pleaded not guilty.
In 2011, prosecutors say, Quiros and Stenger began raising money for a proposed biomedical research park in Newport through the EB-5 program, which allows foreign investors to obtain green cards. By 2016, they had received more than $80 million from more 160 investors for the new facility.
But, prosecutors say, Quiros and Stenger siphoned off millions of dollars for their own pockets, all the while deceiving state and local officials about the project’s potential to bring jobs and revenue to Newport and the Northeast Kingdom.
In 2016, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission accused Quiros and Stenger of a “Ponzi-like scheme” to defraud investors and the program. The SEC and the two men settled the civil charges, with Quiros agreeing to pay an $82 million penalty; Stenger paid a $75,000 penalty.