Business Colleague of Jared Kushner Charged in EB-5 Suit

By David North on February 3, 2020

One of the ongoing dangers of working with the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program is the possibility that one or more of your associates may be entangled in a fraud case.

The EB-5 promoter in this case is Nicholas Mastroianni, CEO of the U.S. Immigration Fund of Jupiter, Fla. He is the subject of a civil fraud case filed against him by two Chinese investors according to a Law360 article dated January 27.

According to the article:

Mastroianni is the CEO of the U.S. Immigration Fund, which is allowed by the federal government to recruit EB-5 investors for U.S. developers. The business had worked on a Jersey City, New Jersey development known as "Trump Bay Street" for White House adviser Jared Kushner's company, Kushner Cos., according to the company's website.

And, as we reported nearly two years ago:

Michael Cohen, the long-time "fixer" for Trump finding himself not asked to join the White House staff, turned to big businesses that wanted Trump connections and advice, according to this morning's New York Times. He was paid a $500,000 fee by Squire Patton Boggs to find clients for it; one of the clients he recruited was the U.S. Immigration Fund.

Squire Patton Boggs, a major lobbying firm, subsequently cut its ties with the now-jailed Cohen. Jared Kushner is not named in the current suit.

Interestingly in this case, the second such against U.S. Immigration Fund, the two Chinese investors are named; they are Ting Peng and Lin Fu, and are identified by Law360 as "two Chinese nationals who live in Florida". Often the Chinese investors are not named in these cases.

Though this is not specified in the complaint, it appears that the two investors, both women, may be working in the United States on H-1B visas; one is a teacher and the other is a physician, two occupations often seen in H-1B ranks. Promoters of the EB-5 program routinely target H-1B workers in their recruitment efforts.

The 90-page complaint — the alleged fraud was a complex one — does not seem to say whether or not the women secured the green cards that are usually associated with a successful EB-5 project.