SEC Halts $150 Million EB-5 Investment Fraud

On February 8, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges and an asset freeze against the Intercontinental Regional Center Trust of Chicago, A Chicago Convention Center and its principal, Anshoo R. Sethi. The SEC alleges that Sethi and his companies fraudulently sold more than $145 million in securities and collected $11 million in administrative fees from more than 250 EB-5 investors primarily from China. The SEC alleges that Sethi and his companies fraudulently misrepresented to EB-5 immigrant investors that they had acquired all the necessary building permits, that several major hotel chains were involved in the project and that additional financing was available to complete the project in addition to the EB-5 investment proceeds. The SEC further alleges that the offering materials falsely claimed that construction would begin in the summer of 2012 and occupancy of the first tower would occur by early spring 2014. In furtherance of their fraud, the SEC alleges that Sethi and his companies provided falsified documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain preliminary approval of the project and the immigrant investors’ I-526 petitions. The SEC acknowledged the substantial assistance of the USCIS.

The SEC press release and SEC complaint can both be viewed by clicking here.