Migration Agents Fraudulently Collecting EB-5 Funds from Investors?

  

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM AVS: AVS EB-5 has learned from USG sources that online ads marketing AVS EB-5 projects have appeared in foreign online media, posted by parties purporting to represent American Venture Solutions EB-5.  Some of these have been posted by parties with which AVS has never had a relationship; others have originated from migration agencies with which AVS has previously collaborated, before U.S. regulatory decisions prohibited success fee payments to anyone except foreign registered securities broker/dealers.  AVS continues to collaborate with our prior agent partners to insure a smooth EB-5 process for all AVS investors, but, in accordance with U.S. policy changes, AVS EB-5 no longer works with migration agents and only accepts direct investor inquiries or those referred by registered financial advisors and reputable law firms abroad.

Several years ago, a friend from one of the oldest and most reputable EB-5 Regional Centers  told me an incredible story involving a Chinese EB-5 investor:  the Regional Center, like all centers at the time, had focused primarily on the China market and enjoyed a solid reputation.  They had the usual misadventures with many Chinese immigration agents but had, over the years, developed a few stable relationships and had a solid business in China.  One day, the phone rings in their U.S. office and person identifying himself as one of their EB-5 investors.  The man was complaining that it had been over a year since he invested, no one had contacted him, etc. and was very upset. The staff at the center absolutely panicked when they were unable to find his name anywhere in their records.  With many investors over the years, the immediate concern was that, somehow, this case had fallen through the cracks of their case management.  After several frantic days of searching, the center confirmed that this gentleman was NOT an investor and had NOT funded with their Regional Center.  The RC principal then contacted the investor to unravel the mystery, and that’s when it all became clear:

  • The investor had been approached by an alleged Chinese migration agent purporting to represent this regional center.  The agent had all the project materials, knew the project well, and convinced the investor to invest.
  • The agent, however, did NOT really represent the Regional Center.  After going through the proxy process (Chinese investors funding from within China pool wire transfers from multiple parties to comply with currency export restrictions), the money went out of China…
  • …and straight into the account of the mystery agent…who disappeared forever with the investor’s $500,000 and $50,000 administrative fee…

Can you IMAGINE?

The RC principal and their team were horrified; the would-be investor, obviously, devastated.  The RC principal decided to get on a plane to go visit the man, who was in the U.S. on business when all of the above unfolded.   The man, fortunately, had means and the $500,000 ripoff had not left him without funds; after meeting the RC owner and having a long chat, he invested AGAIN, this time in the REAL RC…and is today a U.S. resident.  After a criminal ripoff and TWO EB-5 investments, a happy ending.  But I suspect it rarely turns out that way.

Be careful out there, folks.

Jose

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