SEC Files Another Suit Against Another EB-5 Attorney for Misuse of Funds

By David North on June 25, 2017

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed yet another suit against yet another EB-5 lawyer, contending that the Chicago lawyer in the case, Seyed Taher Kameli, "improperly commingled and otherwise improperly used portions of the $88.7 million investment ... and has spent a significant portion of the investment proceeds for his own benefit."

Usually these cases involve Chinese investors whose bids for a green card are endangered by the fraud. Usually they involve big city real estate deals, and usually they involve the SEC as the assertive cop on the beat. This case was no different, but it did have a slightly different tilt: Some of the investors were Iranians.

Among the specifics cited in the SEC complaint, were these:

[C]ausing one Fund to draw down $3.8 million on a line of credit, with Kameli using the bulk of the draw-down to benefit Projects unaffiliated with investors in that Fund and to benefit Kameli's companies and Kameli personally. ... Withdrawing a total of over $4 million in undisclosed fees from five different Projects and using part of those purported fees to benefit investors unaffiliated with those Projects.

Meanwhile, the State of Vermont, which played the role of the regional center middleman in numerous EB-5 ventures, has been sued by a British EB-5 investor (a rare breed) saying state officials were "grossly negligent" and, to quote the VTDigger website:"and at worst intimately involved in a conspiracy to cover up their joint improprieties."

The news from Chicago relates to a brand-new case of EB-5 fraud; that from Vermont is just another add-on to a long saga, which CIS has described in the past.