The Securities and Exchange Commission charged former registered representative and branch manager with Raymond James & Associates, Joe Burstein for helping facilitate an EB-5 offering fraud perpetrated by Jay Peak, Vermont-based ski resort. The SEC’s said in its court filing that Joel Burstein, worked at Raymond James from 2001 to 2016, aided and abetted the ski resort’s owner, Ariel Quiros, in misappropriation and misuse of investor money that flowed through various brokerage accounts held at Raymond James. Burstein, Quiros’ former son-in-law, managed those accounts. According to the SEC’s complaint, Burstein facilitated Quiros’ misappropriation of more than $21 million of investor funds to acquire the Jay Peak ski resort. Burstein then assisted Quiros in trying to mask the significant shortfall created in the Raymond James brokerage accounts from the misappropriation. The complaint also alleges that Burstein facilitated Quiros’ fraudulent use of more than $18 million of investor money to pay off Jay Peak’s margin debt at Raymond James.
The SEC filed an emergency civil action against Quiros in 2016 Jay Peak and others for engaging in an offering fraud in which, among other things, Quiros systematically misappropriated and misused investor funds. The program solicits investments from foreigners in exchange for U.S. residency.By investing at least $1,000,000 to finance a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers.” Most immigrant investors who use the EB-5 program invest in a targeted area— a rural area or area with high unemployment — which lowers the investment threshold to $500,000. The EB-5 program is intended to encourage both “foreign investments and economic growth”. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is one of five employment-based (EB) preference programs in the United States.
Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, Burstein consented to the entry of a final judgment ordering him to pay a civil penalty of $80,000.