Crooked EB-5 Lawyer Bites Dust West of Dodge City

By David North on October 30, 2015

The little town of Ulysses, Kan., (pop. 6,273) on the plains some 80 miles west of Dodge City hoped that the proposed EB-5-funded ethanol plant would perk up the town's sagging economy, as we reported last year.

The plant was never completed, much less opened. The owner of the plant, and of the regional center handling the transaction, was Justin Moongyu Lee, then a California lawyer. The money was used for something else and Lee, as a result, was disbarred.

The EB-5 program provides immigrant investors with a family-sized set of green cards if they invest in a government sanctioned, but not guaranteed, project. Each $500,000 investment is supposed to create or retain 10 jobs for residents of this country.

On October 28, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California weighed in on the Ulysses case and, in civil action, fined Lee and some firms associated with him more than $8.3 million.

As usual in these cases, an entity other than the Department of Homeland Security carried the ball for the victims and for the public. In this case the Securities and Exchange Commission was the charging party. In an earlier action, the California Bar ruled that Lee can no longer practice law.

The couple who lost their investment successfully sued Lee earlier and, in one of those rare instances in EB-5, got their money back. Whether they got their green cards is not known.

For users of PACER, the court's electronic records system, the case is 2:14-cv-06865-RGK-E.