Quiros, EB-5 fraud scandal ‘mastermind,’ gets $200K Vermont tax refund check

Quiros, EB-5 fraud scandal ‘mastermind,’ gets $200K Vermont tax refund check

EB-5 Visa, EB5 Visa, EB5 Investments

Ariel Quiros, the former Jay Peak owner accused of masterminding a fraud involving hundreds of millions of dollars, just received a $200,000 tax refund from the state of Vermont, according to court records.

It’s unclear how much, if any, of those funds Quiros will pocket. At least half, or $100,000, will go to the receivership currently overseeing the Northeast Kingdom ski resort.

The other $100,000, according to the filing, is expected to be used by Quiros to pay his mounting legal bills and other costs to defend himself against the investor fraud allegations.

The $200,000 check, according to the recent filing, is from the state Department of Taxes as a result of the “overpayment of state income taxes on behalf of Mr. Quiros and his wife” in 2015, a year before state and federal regulators brought investor fraud lawsuits against him.

“Mr. Quiros had taken no action in connection with the refund until very recently,” the filing added.

The court filing was submitted by Michael Goldberg, a court-appointed receiver overseeing the assets belonging to Quiros as part of a case brought against the Miami businessman turned Vermont ski mogul more than two years ago by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Goldberg in the filing lays out his proposal for the $200,000 refund check, including allowing Quiros to use half of it to pay his attorney bills.

The other $100,000 from that tax refund check, according to Goldberg’s proposal, would be turned over to the receivership for continuing to clean up the financial mess left behind in northern Vermont communities where development projects headed by Quiros took place.

Goldberg submitted his filing this week in federal court in Miami, where that SEC case remains pending and Quiros resides. Judge Darrin P. Gayles, presiding over that case, signed off on Goldberg’s plan Tuesday.

The judge needed to approve the proposal because Quiros is currently subject to a freeze of his assets, put in place at the time of the filing of the SEC lawsuit against him in April 2016.

Melissa Visconti, a Florida attorney, representing Quiros, said Wednesday she notified the SEC as soon as her client learned of the state income tax refund check, which needed to be reissued since the previous check had become void.

Visconti declined to reveal how much Quiros owes her in legal fees since she began representing him in March 2017. Court filings from several months ago put that figure at well over $300,000.

Kaj Samson, Vermont’s tax commissioner, could not immediately be reached Wednesday for comment.

The existence of the refund check was discovered as assets were being reviewed in preparation for the freeze to be lifted as a result of the resolution the SEC case against Quiros.

Earlier this year, Quiros reached a settlement with the SEC to resolve investor fraud allegations in a 52-count lawsuit brought against him in April 2016. That settlement calls for Quiros to turn over $81 million in assets to the federal government, including his ownership stake in Jay Peak ski resort as well as the nearby Burke Mountain ski area.

State and federal regulators said in separate lawsuits that Quiros and his former business partner Bill Stenger, Jay Peak’s former president, misused $200 million of the more than $350 million they raised from hundreds of immigrant investors through the federal EB-5 visa program.

The SEC had termed Quiros the “mastermind” of the “Ponzi-like” scheme, though his attorney has contested that characterization of Quiros’ role.

Quiros has also agreed to a resolve the state lawsuit by surrendering an estimated $2 million in assets, including a handful of properties in Vermont, to the state.

In addition to the tax refund check, Goldberg wrote in the recent filing, Quiros also “recently identified funds held in accounts at Wells Fargo” in the name of Tango Grill Holdings, Inc., a restaurant he owned in Miami, according to the filing.

“Mr. Quiros and the SEC were unaware the accounts contained funds until very recently,” Goldberg wrote. “Combined, the accounts contain $21,444.41.”

Goldberg proposed and the judge agreed to the same split with those funds as for the state tax refund, with half, or $10,722, going to the receivership, and Quiros permitted to use the other half for the “attorneys’ fees, costs, and other expenses.”



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