Federal prosecutor says Newport EB-5 fraud investigation still underway

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)

Federal investigators are still looking into additional suspects in Vermont’s largest fraud case on record, even though the alleged mastermind pleaded guilty this summer.

According to the Times Argus, a prosecutor told a judge during a Friday hearing that the probe’s ongoing nature was why records from a 2018 search warrant in the case should remain sealed. The judge agreed with that assessment.

In August, former Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros pleaded guilty to defrauding foreign investors in a failed attempt to start a $110 million biomedical research park in Newport. The investors became involved in the project through the federal EB-5 program, which provides green cards to foreign investors in U.S. projects if they meet certain conditions.

Two former co-defendants of Quiros are currently scheduled to go to trial next April. They are former Jay Peak president and CEO Bill Stenger and former Quiros adviser William Kelly. A third named co-defendant, South Korean businessman Alex Choi, is still at large. Choi, who was convicted of financial fraud in his home country in 2016, is accused of serving as a silent partner in the Newport project.

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