Bollen's lawyers aim to block evidence of extravagant purchases
Attorneys for the former head of South Dakota's investment-for-visa program say prosecutors shouldn't be allowed to offer evidence about how Joop Bollen spent more than $1.2 million he's accused of illegally diverting from the program.
Bollen faces felony charges for allegedly misappropriating money from the EB-5 visa program for personal purchases including fine art and Egyptian artifacts. Attorneys for Bollen on Wednesday asked a Brown County judge not to allow evidence about how he used investor dollars, saying it would unfairly discredit him.
"If Mr. Bollen had donated all the money to charity, the State would be up in arms if Mr. Bollen wanted to introduce such evidence. It does not matter whether Mr. Bollen used the money to make a charitable contribution or to fund a luxury vacation," attorneys Reed Rasmussen and Julie Dvorak wrote in a court document. "The only issue in regard to motive is whether he intended to defraud the State, i.e., intended to impair the state's security interest."
Bollen pleaded not guilty to the charges in June.
Rasmussen and Dvorak said the state's attorneys shouldn't be able to discredit Bollen in the jury's eyes for being financially successful and having the funds needed to make those purchases. Neither immediately responded to a request for comment Wednesday.
The comments Wednesday come in response to a request from Brent Kempema, South Dakota assistant attorney general, to allow evidence showing Bollen's withdrawals from the SDRC, Inc. accounts and fund transfers. According to an affidavit, some of the mishandled money ended up with Christie's Fine Art in London, Bollen's close personal friend in Georgia and to a collector of Egyptian artifacts. Bollen was known to be an art collector.
Kempema said the evidence of where the money ended up could help establish motive and is important in informing a jury.
"Here, the proffered evidence is simply the end of Defendant's alleged criminal conduct," Kempema wrote. "The proffered evidence is so connected to the charges that without the proffered evidence the jury would be forced to consider the allegations and make a determination as to Defendant's actions in a vacuum."
Kempema didn't immediately respond to a telephone message requesting comment Wednesday.
A Brown County judge is set to hear arguments next week and establish some of the specifics about Bollen's jury trial, which is set for February 6-10.
- South Dakota
Subscribe for News
This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to sell shares or securities. Any such offer or solicitation will be made only by means of an investment's confidential Offering Memorandum and in accordance with the terms of all applicable securities and other laws. This website does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, any offer for sale or subscription of, or any invitation to offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities, nor should it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in any connection with, any contract or commitment whatsoever. EB5Projects.com LLC and its affiliates expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from: (i) reliance on any information contained in the website, (ii) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (iii) any action resulting therefrom.