Joop Bollen's defense attorney is looking to have criminal charges dismissed and says transactions identified by the state as improper were not made from an EB-5 indemnification account.
Bollen, 53, of Aberdeen is set to appear in court Thursday for a motions hearing with his attorney Reed Rasmussen. Bollen faces five felony charges of unauthorized disposal of personal property subject to security interest. The case is being prosecuted by the South Dakota attorney general's office. Bollen was the operator of SDRC, Inc., a regional center that administered the federal EB-5 program for South Dakota.
With EB-5, foreign investors and their families are allowed green cards in exchange for qualified contributions to economic development projects.
Bollen is accused of withdrawing money from one of two indemnification funds, a bank account with $1 million set aside for the purpose of holding the state of South Dakota harmless.
Several motions were filed this month by both sides.
Prosecutors are asking the judge to allow the admission of evidence that explains the transactions made by Bollen and what they were used for. They also hope to suppress any arguments or testimony claiming improperly motivated prosecution.
According to motions filed this week, Rasmussen is seeking to have the criminal indictment against his client dismissed. He also objects to the inclusion of the evidence the prosecution wants to admit because he sees it as irrelevant.
"The only issue in regard to motive is whether he (Bollen) intended to defraud the state, i.e., intended to impair the state's security interest," Rasmussen wrote in his motion.
In his 14-page response, Rasmussen outlined several arguments, including that:
• Bollen had a signed agreement with the state to protect the SDRC expense fund and Indemnification Account No. 1, but no signed agreement was in place regarding Indemnification Account No. 2 until 2015.
• In addition to the expense fund and the two indemnification funds, Bollen also had another checking account called Contingency 3. The transactions identified in Bollen's criminal charges are noted as being from Indemnification Account No. 2/Contingency No. 3. But, Rasmussen said, that is factually incorrect because those are two different accounts, and the $1 million always remained in Indemnification Account No. 2.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
- South Dakota
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