Ariel Quiros, the embattled owner of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resorts accused of allegedly misappropriating more than $200 million in EB-5 immigrant investor funds in those and other Northeast Kingdom, Vermont economic development projects, recently got more bad news: his IRS refund was turned over to the federal receivership in charge of his assets.
Michael Goldberg, the federal receiver put in charge of Quiros’s assets following last April’s shocking announcement by state and federal authorities about the alleged ‘Ponzi-like’ scheme Quiros is said to have masterminded, said that Quiros’s IRS refund was close to $950,000.
In a recent motion by Quiros to try to modify the asset freeze order he has been subject to since the beginning of the cases against him, it is noted that, “Recently, Defendant Quiros received a refund check from the Internal Revenue Service. The refund check is directed to Defendant Quiros and his wife, jointly. The Receiver and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) assert that the refund check is subject, in its entirety, to the Court’s Asset Freeze Order.”
“Defendant Quiros asserts that only half the refund check is subject to the asset freeze,” the filing goes on. “In the interest of avoiding costly litigation over the issue, Defendant Quiros, the SEC, and the Receiver have agreed that Defendant Quiros will endorse the entire check to the Receiver to be held in the Receiver’s law firm trust account pending a final determination regarding disposition of the refund check.”
Goldberg said on Tuesday, “As of now, there is no argument over the funds. They are simply sitting in my trust account and the issue will be discussed in the future.”
Ariel Quiros’s new attorney, Melissa Visconti, asked about the IRS refund, said in an email in recent days, “We stand by what is in the court filings and the Receiver’s reports. We continue to work cooperatively with the SEC and the Receiver on Mr. Quiros’ behalf, and our agreement on this matter is an example of ongoing efforts to work together to resolve issues.”
The fact that Quiros’s IRS refund was given to the receivership was noted in a recent document filed with the U.S. District Court in Miami, Florida, where the federal SEC against him is proceeding.
Quiros lives in southern Florida, but was at the helm of the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) Economic Development Initiative, which promised expansion at Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, and a handful of business projects aimed at rejuvenating the economically depressed region and creating needed jobs.
In mid-April last year, the SEC and the Vermont Attorney General announced companion civil complaints being filed against both Quiros and his former business partner, Bill Stenger. Stenger has reached a settlement with the SEC, but the Vermont civil complaint is still pending.
Quiros and Stenger both were implicated in allegedly misappropriating more than $200 million in EB-5 investor funds; Quiros was further accused of having pocketed another $55 million to fuel his lavish lifestyle, authorities said.
EB-5 is a federal program through which immigrant investors buy into economic development projects in distressed areas and can ultimately earn permanent green cards when their investments are linked to proven job creation or retention. In the case of the NEK projects, the buy-in was $500,000 per investor, plus fees.
Last month, in a press conference at the Vermont Statehouse, Gov. Phil Scott announced with Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak and Goldberg, the federally appointed receiver, that Goldberg and his team had successfully settled with Raymond James Financial for a $150 million dollar award. The company was one used by Quiros to carry out his alleged scheme, but in settling, the financial company was not admitting wrongdoing, their statement released the same day, emphasized.
The money will be used to pay off millions to contractors owed money at the Burke hotel project, at Jay Peak, vendors owed millions, investors, and municipal taxes among other obligations, said Goldberg and state officials. There are still a number of legal avenues being explored to bring in more money to try to right the wrongs which hurt many investors and others financially, officials have said.
- Vermont EB5 Regional Center
- Jay Peak - Q Burke Mountain Resort, Hotel and Conference Center L.P.
- UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
- Ariel Quiros
- Bill Stenger
- State of Vermont vs Bill Stenger & Ariel Quiros
- UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION vs Ariel Quiros & Bill Stenger
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