SEC to Federal Judge: Don’t Unfreeze Quiros Assets

SEC to Federal Judge: Don’t Unfreeze Quiros Assets

EB-5 Visa, EB5 Visa, EB-5 Investment

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in U.S. District Court in Miami, Fla., on Thursday filed its response to embattled Burke Mountain Resort and Jay Peak Resort owner Ariel Quiros’ efforts to unfreeze his assets.

In their 10-page response, SEC lawyers argue, “The Court should entirely deny Quiros’ attempt to modify the asset freeze to pay for his lavish and outrageous expenses.”

The federal government and Vermont Attorney General have alleged that Quiros and his business partner, Bill Stenger, misappropriated more than $200 million of investor funds in the federal EB-5 program, through which foreign investors can obtain green cards for half-million dollar investments in the Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative.

Quiros is also accused of taking another $50 million of investor funds for his personal use. Last month federal officials froze his assets. Quiros’ asked to have the asset freeze lifted or modified. Last week, Quiros was given access to slightly over $41,000.

“For eight years, Ariel Quiros has lied to hundreds of investors in the Jay Peak EB-5 offering projects,” asserts SEC attorneys Christopher E. Martin and Robert K. Levenson. “His deceit enabled him to raise more than $350 million from unsuspecting investors and improperly place more than $50 million in his own pocket. Now the immigration status and investments of hundreds of investors are at risk, there are severe shortages in the last two projects, and Quiros has nowhere close to the amount of frozen assets to repay his equitable liabilities.

“Nonetheless, Quiros wants to victimize investors again by stripping out millions of dollars from the Court’s asset freeze, so he can spend the funds before the Commission can use them to help compensate defrauded investors for the staggering losses created by Quiros and the other defendants,” the SEC response says.

Other defendants in the federal complaint include Stenger, Jay Peak, Inc., Q Resorts, Inc., all of the Jay Peak EB-5 projects, the AnC Bio Vermont GP Services Project. Relief defendants include Jay Construction Management, Inc., GSI of Dade County, Inc., North East Contract Services, Inc., and the Q Burke Mountain Resort, LLC.

Federal authorities say Quiros sought $300,000 a month for professional expenses, and now is seeking what they call “the outrageous sum of nearly $100,000 a month in so-called living expenses.”

“Quiros has not met his burden of proof to show he is entitled to use frozen investor funds to pay his living expenses,” the SEC attorneys state. “Furthermore, the amount requested by Quiros for living expenses is not reasonable, and many of the expenses are not documented. In fact, approximately $90,000 of the monthly expenses are for luxury items, non-necessities, or for undocumented expenses. Accordingly, the Court should deny his request.”

The Court earlier extended to Quiros a date of April 28 to submit his revised living expenses by, the SEC response states.

According to the SEC, Quiros is seeking $73,000 a month “for numerous lavish and unnecessary expenses,” which include:

- A lease for one of his several luxury automobiles of $3,295 a month;

- A lease for his wife’s luxury car of $1,761 a month;

- His adult daughter’s living expenses of $6,310 a month;

- His adult son’s living expenses of $5,000 a month;

- Storage and upkeep for his military Jeep collection of $3,000 a month;

- Taxes on his Vermont properties of $15,583 a month;

- Expenses for what is described as a “money-losing restaurant” of $15,000 a month.

The SEC attorneys argue that Quiros should not be given any funds for luxuries, in their closing arguments.

“Hence, the Court should deny Quiros’ outrageous request for living expenses to support his lavish lifestyle of, among other things, multiple homes, properties, and luxury cars, paying substantial sums to able-bodied children that he is not legally bound to pay, paying personal assistants (more than $6,000 a month, the record shows), funding a money losing restaurant, and paying approximately $45,000 a year for private elementary school,” for his 8-year-old granddaughter, the SEC argues.

The SEC concludes that Quiros has also not provided documentation for his living expenses.

“In sum, in the face of the case law, in order to protect defrauded investors, and the limited frozen funds available to pay any living expenses, the Court should deny Quiros’ request to release frozen funds to pay living expenses,” the SEC argues.


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