The EB-5 Investor Visa is an opportunity, among other kinds, for foreign investors to help the U.S. economy and to obtain permanent resident status (green cards) and a path to citizenship for themselves, their spouse, and children. However, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, an investor must put a substantial sum of money at risk–$500,000 or $1 million, depending upon the circumstances of the project. These funds are intended to go toward a business venture that will create jobs for individuals living in the United States. While many of these ventures are successful, unfortunately, some do not go as planned.
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Fraud Can Occur
Anytime you invest in a development project or business, you take a risk that the venture might fail. However, in some situations, the individuals seeking investments may mishandle the funds, and sometimes they may do so intentionally.
In one recent case, several EB-5 investors from China provided millions of dollars to a pair of associates who claimed they planned to build nursing homes in several locations. Instead of even beginning on the projects, the pair reportedly spent much of the money paying off personal loans, buying real estate for personal gain, and paying other expenses not related to the nursing homes. The pair is facing a civil lawsuit for fraud filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though the case is pending.
What Are Your Legal Options?
When project developers fraudulently misspend the funds and do not move forward on the project, investors naturally wonder what they can do to recover their lost investments and hold the fraudulent parties accountable. Investors may have different legal options, including filing a legal claim on their own or reporting the fraud to the SEC to file a claim on their behalf. Though the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) oversees the EB-5 Visa program, the agency will not generally assist in recovering funds, even in cases of fraud.
Will You Still Get A Green Card?
Unfortunately, if your investment does not result in a viable project and the creation of the required jobs, the USCIS will likely not issue green cards to you nor your family members. You must meet all requirements under the program in order to receive permanent resident status this way. However, there may be other immigration options for you aside from an EB-5 Visa and Alex Barak can help you explore your options.
The Importance Of Due Diligence
The above case is only one example that illustrates the importance of conducting thorough due diligence before you make an EB-5 investment, as you likely would with any type of major investment. An experienced investment-based lawyer like Alex Barak can assist you in fully evaluating a project before you decide to invest.
An Experienced Florida Immigration Attorney Can Help
While EB-5 Visas can be a great immigration tool, potential EB-5 investors should be careful when selecting a project in which to invest. At the Law Offices of Alex T. Barak, P.A., a Florida immigration lawyer can help through every stage of your immigration case, so please call today at (954) 399-7778 for assistance.