April 14, 2017

$150 Million Settlement Announced in Vermont Ski Resort Fraud Case

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

A year after the owner and president of a Vermont ski resort were accused by the state and the SEC of massive fraud, a $150 million settlement has been reached with Raymond James Financial Inc., which is the financial institution allegedly at the heart of the fraud. The federal receiver overseeing Jay Peak ski resort said the settlement agreement will be filed in court next week. A federal judge still must approve the settlement.  “While this does not wipe the slate clean for the individuals, businesses and communities harmed by this alleged fraud, it’s very, very encouraging news,” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said.

The money will be used to pay all 42 contractors, 513 trade creditors — which are the other unpaid businesses, nonprofits and municipalities — and 169 investors, he said.

The resort’s owner, Ariel Quiros, of Miami, and former president Bill Stenger were accused of misusing $200 million raised from foreign investors through the federal EB-5 visa program, which allows permanent U.S. residency for those who finance projects that create a certain amount of jobs. Stenger has settled civil charges with the SEC. Quiros’ lawyers have said he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.  The allegations against Raymond James included that an employee, at the direction of Quiros, inappropriately transferred investment funds to buy Jay Peak, failed to adequately supervise its employees and did not follow its own supervisory procedures.

Raymond James did not admit any wrongdoing, but the company’s executive vice president and general counsel Jonathan Santelli said “we believe this resolution is fair and representative of our commitment to redressing the victims’ losses in this case.” Click here for more.

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