NEWPORT, Vt. – The Latest in the fraud claims against two developers in Vermont (all times local):
A Miami businessmen accused in what the Securities and Exchange Commission calls a “massive eight-year fraud scheme” involving developments in an economically-depressed area of northern Vermont is seeking to have his assets unfrozen.
Lawyers for Ariel Quiros filed a motion in federal court in Florida on Tuesday saying the SEC’s order to freeze his assets is overbearing and deprives him of any ability to feed his family or defend himself legally.
Quiros’ lawyers also said the SEC’s case is premised on an incorrect argument that Quiros and his affiliates were only entitled to receive a limited amount of investor funds from each of the limited partnerships.
Quiros, the owner of Jay Peak ski resort, and Bill Stenger, president of the resort, are accused of misusing more than $200 million and “systematically looting” more than $50 million raised from hundreds of foreign investors through a special visa program.
Sweeping development plans for a remote area of northern Vermont brought the promise of jobs to a region that has some of the highest unemployment rates in the state.
But new allegations that two prominent businessmen behind the plans misused more than $200 million raised from foreign investors have brought some of the development to a halt.
They’ve also left state officials feeling betrayed after enthusiastically promoting the projects.
The plans were to include a biomedical research plant, a hotel and conference centre, an airport runway extension, and big upgrades at two ski areas.
Some of the work is completed, but Gov. Peter Shumlin has acknowledged that the bioresearch plant and a downtown redevelopment probably won’t happen.
The bio-tech plant was to create 450 jobs.