Bloggings On EB-5

by Staff

Chicago Regional Center & the Future of the EB-5 Green Card

Anshoo R. Sethi, founder of the Intercontinental Regional Center Trust of Chicago (IRCTC) and A Chicago Convention Center (ACCC), has been charged with fraud, corrupting the EB-5 program and hurting foreign investor relations.

This is a crucial time for the EB-5 program to show its value to the masses. It incorporates significant—and much needed—funds into the U.S. economy, not only due to the initial investment, but also due to the immigrant investor. Once the two year requirement and creation of ten jobs is met, the investor lives in America; their permanent residency contributes significantly to the economy. The incentive for these immigrant investors is to bring their families and business to America. This means day-to-day expenses are also accrued from this new resident. Many even come for America’s school system, and the cost of tuition is an investment in itself.

Needless to say, it doesn’t reflect well on the EB-5 Regional Center pilot program, when fraud enters into it. Founder of two fraudulent companies (ACCC & IRCTC), Anshoo R. Sethi has been detained by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) and all his corresponding assets have been frozen. Sethi’s company posed as the “World’s First Zero Carbon Emission Platinum LEED certified” hotel. He received certification for the EB-5 pilot program, by falsifying documentation from several renowned hotels: Hyatt, Intercontinental Hotel Group, & Starwood Hotels. The latter two, Sethi previously had business with, but had long since terminated their relationships.

After approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Sethi promised Chinese foreign investors green cards if they submitted $1 million or $500,000 to the company and $41,500 in administration fees. He guaranteed that if they did not receive a green card, he would refund their investment. After receiving over $145 million from over 250 foreign investors, it was discovered that Sethi had already spent the $11 million he received in administration fees alone. SEC has frozen the remaining $145 million and promises to return these funds to the investors.

Although, $11 million is hardly the tragedy that $145 million would pose, this certainly calls for major EB-5 pilot program reform. The ability to be approved for an EB-5 center is going to undergo severe scrutiny. After all, if a 29yo is claiming to have over 15 years’ experience in a company that’s 35 years’ old (when really it was founded in 2010), then reform is necessary. While current EB-5 regional centers are being reevaluated, ultimately reform will repair and enhance the program’s efficiency. Improvements are best made now, before the program is permanent.

The relations with foreign investors are the most important factor that has been critically damaged. After all, these were 250 immigrant investors prepared to participate in the EB-5 Visa program. However, USCIS is taking EB-5 fraud seriously and is far from an ineffective immigration program.

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