Ariel Quiros, former Jay Peak owner, pleads guilty to 3 felonies in fraudulent EB-5 project

Local News

Ariel Quiros, former owner of Jay Peak Resort, stands outside the federal courthouse in Burlington, Vermont on May 22, 2019, after his arraignment on fraud charges over a failed plan to build a biotechnology plant using foreign investors’ money. The Miami businessman, accused of being the mastermind behind a massive fraud case involving foreign investors’ money in Vermont developments, is expected to plead guilty in next week in a plea deal in which prosecutors are seeking a sentence of more than eight years in prison. (AP / Lisa Rathke)

The former owner of Jay Peak has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to three felonies in connection to his involvement in an EB-5 investment project in Newport.

Ariel Quiros, 64, of Key Biscayne, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiring with co-defendants William Kelly, Alex Choi and William Stenger in a multi-year scheme to defraud immigrant investors in the Jay Peak Biomedical Research, also called the AnC Vermont project. The EB-5 program, which is overseen by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), allows foreign investors of $500,000 to obtain green cards.

The U.S. Attorneys Office in Vermont said Quiros admitted that the scheme involved misleading AnC investors, including about how investor money would be used and the timing of job creation for the project. He also admitted using AnC investor funds for personal expenses, specifically a $6 million payment to the IRS.

Quiros will continue to cooperate with federal prosecutors, according to the agreement, which also caps any jail sentence at 97 months if he abides by its terms.

The AnC Vermont project, managed by Quiros and Stenger, was designed to raise $110 million from 220 immigrant investors in order to build and operate a biotechnology company in Newport. From 2012 to 2016, prosecutors said, Quiros and his co-defendants obtained approximately $85 million, plus approximately $8 million in “administrative fees,” from approximately 169 immigrant investors.

The U.S. Attorneys Office said Quiros also pleaded guilty to money laundering and to concealing material facts in a matter within the jurisdiction of a federal agency.

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