Horseheads (a Place in Upstate New York) and EB-5 Converge

By David North on September 16, 2019

I was talking to one of the India-focused journalists I speak with from time to time, and learned that he, though writing for a magazine published in India, grew up in Elmira, N.Y.

We were talking about the EB-5 program, which he and I agree should devote more of its resources to places like Elmira (a rust-belt town) than to Manhattan (where an obscene proportion of the money goes now).

Aliens with $500,000 to spare can secure a family-sized set of green cards if they invest in an EB-5 investment identified by the Department of Homeland Security, but not guaranteed by the government. I mentioned that there was an unusual amount of corruption in the program, with investing aliens losing their money to crooked middlemen.

At that point the telephone connection started to fail and we agreed to talk later. I decided after I put the phone down — on a pure whim — to see what happened when one Googles "Elmira EB-5". I found this article from WENY News: "Lawsuit: Horseheads hotel project is 'illusion' for foreign investors looking for green cards".

WENY reports that a Chinese EB-5 investor sued to get his money back from a local businessman named Tom Shen, who had other problems as well. Shen was arrested on July 13, 2018, on charges of "Grand Larceny and Issuing a bad check" for $367,000.

Horseheads is a few miles north of Elmira.

Statisticians will tell you that a sample of one, even a random sample of one, does not prove anything, and I agree.

But it was an interesting coincidence.