2nd man convicted in Vermont visa fraud case

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The second of four men accused of failing to build a biotech plant in Vermont using tens of millions of dollars in foreign investor money raised through a special visa program was convicted Wednesday by federal court at age 18. months in jail.

William Kelly, 73, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was also sentenced to three years on probation and ordered to pay $0.8.3 million in restitution.

He pleaded guilty last June to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of concealing material information. As part of the plea deal, eight other charges were dropped and he agreed to cooperate with the government.

Kelly was indicted in 2019 on multiple fraud charges along with Miami businessman Ariel Quiros, the former owner of the Jay Peak and Burke Mountain ski resorts in northern Vermont, and the former chairman of Jay Peak. , William Stenger. Kelly was a consultant at Quiros.

The indictment accused the men of conspiring to devise a scheme between 2011 and 2016 to defraud foreign investors in the AnC-Bio project in Newport. The EB-5 visa program encourages foreigners to invest in U.S. projects that create jobs in exchange for a chance to gain permanent residency in the United States.

Prosecutors said the project sought to raise $110 million from 220 immigrant investors to build and operate a biotechnology facility in Newport, according to records and court proceedings. About 169 investors invested about $85 million between 2012 and 2016, as well as paid about $8 million in administrative fees, but fundraising was never completed and the project was never built, they said. the prosecutors.

Stenger was sentenced last week to 18 months in prison, after pleading guilty last August to providing false documents. Quiros faces sentencing later this month. A fourth man, Jong Weon (Alex) Choi, a South Korean businessman, remains at large, according to federal court.

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