Like Flies to Honey, EB-5 Investor Visas Keep Attracting Interesting People

By David North on December 20, 2013

The EB-5 immigrant investor program keeps attracting interesting (and controversial) people.

Over and above alleged secret operatives from foreign powers, Chicago con men, an illegal alien engaged in congressional fund-raising on Staten Island, a suicidal South Dakota EB-5 middleman, and the Iranian who wanted to use hot money to fix the old Watergate Hotel (citations below) we now have a couple of West Coast people who run an EB-5 regional center charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with managing a Ponzi scheme.

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The latest of the interesting people are Michael Yang and Wendy Ko who are accused by the SEC of running a $150 million Ponzi scheme (in which money from new investors is recycled to older ones); in addition to managing the Velocity Investment Group (nice name!), the two "have been affiliated with Velocity Regional Center based in Pasadena, CA."

Whether EB-5 investors are among the victims was not discussed in the quoted news article, which came from a straight-shooting website EB5 News.

The website also carried a useful, in-depth examination of the South Dakota EB-5 scandals, including the waste and/or theft of tens of millions of EB-5 dollars in the collapse of Northern Beef Packers (a slaughterhouse) and the strange death of EB-5 middleman Richard Benda.

In it the author writes "If the [EB-5] investors begin to sound like cattle at a beef processing plant with the same end result then this might be an appropriate metaphor for how most of them are treated in our industry."

The possibility that secret operatives from Iran might have used the program was mentioned again by Senator Charles Grassley (R IA) in his most recent speech on the subject. More information is available on the Chicago con, the illegal alien congressional fund-raiser, and the attempted use of EB-5 funds to restore the Watergate.