Friday, June 24, 2016

State Regulators Bar EB-5 Project At Okemo From Soliciting New Investors

Vermont state regulators bar EB-5 Project at Okemo from soliciting new investors.An EB-5, foreign investor-funded project at the base of Okemo Mountain Resort has come under new regulatory scrutiny over statements in its financial prospectus to investors. See the news report at

Thursday, June 23, 2016

2016 US China Investment Forum Agenda Announced

Platinum Sponsors: Smash Companies & Access the USA
Gold Sponsor: Wright Johnson
Exhibitor Sponsor: Wolfsdorf Rosenthal

8:30- 9:00 am Check in and Registration

9:00- 9:15 am Welcome

Brian Su, Artisan Business Group

9:15- 10:00 am Regional Center Business & Market Update

Aaron Goforth, Wright Johnson

10:30- 11:15am EB-5 Immigration and Legislative Updates

Joseph Barnett, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal

11:45-12:45 pm EB-5 Fraud Protection Strategies

Jerold Siegan, Jerold N. Siegan Law

Steven Anapoell, Bridgeforth Capital

12:45- 2:00 pm Luncheon & Networking

2:00- 3:30 pm Challenges & Opportunities for Raising Capital in Asia

Moderator: Brian Su, Artisan Business Group

Michael Brown, Retail Equity Partner Holdings

Scott Greenberg, Smash Companies

Coleen Danaher, NES Financial

Bill Thomas, MacDonald Realty

Brad Stedem, Capital United

4:00- 5:00 pm Networking Cocktail Reception

Click here to attend the 2016 US China Investment Forum

Access The USA announces Platinum Sponsorship

Access The USA has announced Platinum Sponsorship for the 2016 US China Investment Forum on June 30th. The one day conference hosted in Chicago, IL will focus on attracting Chinese private equity and EB-5 capital into US real estate investments. Access the USA is an EB-5 Regional Center founded in 2009, dedicated to serving Asian investors. At AUSA, we are proud to say that we hold the needs of our investors in our minds at all times. Our focus is on projects in Washington State, and we have a strong commitment to funding local infrastructure projects that improve Washington's economy by creating new jobs. Unlike most regional centers that plan investments around real estate projects, we only offer high-quality municipal bond funds issued by the government. Our immigration-based EB-5 investment programs designed to support large-scale government-backed infrastructure projects that assure Green Card approvals because of extensive job creation and reduce investment risks through the purchase of low risk government bonds.

Join us in Chicago at the 2016 US China Investment Forum. Register today!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Report from China: EB-5 reality check

(Brian Su, Artisan Business Group) I finally completed my 13-day EB-5 investment fact finding trip to China. The trip help us have a better understanding of the latest Chinese investor market conditions and trends. The following are my random observations and thoughts, and hopefully help you to determine your EB-5 regional center's next market strategies.

Right before my departure to Beijing, SEC released its complaint against a cancer treatment center project in Southern California. I knew that I would be discussing with migration agents on EB-5 program's integrity and safety issues.  During the intensive trip, I had great opportunities of meeting with leading migration agents such as Well Trend CEO Larry Wang,  Worldway CEO Dr. Winner Xing, KBL Group VP Shirley Liu and a dozen of regional migration agency executives in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Shandong Province. I was also able to meet with executives with wealth management companies, banks, accounting firms, and online brokers that have been working with EB-5 regional center program. Our discussions focused on the current Chinese market trends and future of the EB-5 program. It is obvious that Chinese investors are still showing strong interest in the US investment program, however, retrogression and EB-5 scandals have troubled migration agents and investors. In regard to the long waiting time on I-526 approval and retrogression, many migration agents have not been honest with clients because they are afraid of losing them. On the other hand, they are also afraid of potential lawsuit since they are not telling the truth. It is recently reported that an EB-5 investor filed a lawsuit against a Beijing migration agent, the trial was covered by TV news and widely watched on Chinese social media.  

Though Chinese market is becoming more competitive and throat-cutting, many Chinese companies continue to be flooding into the market.  Guangdong Province and the Free Trade Zone in Pudong Shanghai now have an open market policy and anyone can easily register an emigration service company.  In the US market,  more Chinese real estate developers (Greenland, Wanda, Landsea, Beijing Construction & Engineering, etc), banks (Bank of China), even Chinese state-owned insurance companies are coming to get involved with EB-5 project development and finance. It is reported that a Chinese state owned insurance company is providing insurance coverage for investors investments.  We also see more and more large US developers are working very closely with Chinese partners to develop high profile projects in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. These mega-size projects in major cities have drawn more than half of EB-5 visas, and they are forcing the majority of EB-5 projects in smaller cities and rural areas out of investors market in China.  

Thanks to former government officials (such as retired governors, US ambassador to China, congressman and other politicians) and their frequent appearances in front of Chinese investors, well supported and financed large projects in NYC and Los Angeles are more glamorous and are attracting much more attentions than any projects in smaller cities, it is definitely putting many projects in disadvantaged positions or simply force them out of investor market. Chinese investors almost have no incentives to invest in smaller projects and/or projects in less known cities and areas.  The top 5 Chinese migration agencies are all heavily promoting multiple luxury condo projects in NYC or government supported infrastructure projects such as tollway or railway.  In addition to EB-5 regional center projects, we see small scale direct EB-5 investment projects are disappearing from the Chinese market this year, they just cannot compete and they cannot offer competitive commissions to agents.

930 is coming up, the uncertainties around EB-5 regional center program continue to haunt everyone in the EB-5 world.  No one knows what would happen this Fall. Everyone is trying to figure out if the program would get a straight extension.  For some investors, word of EB-5 is like a poison pill that no one wants to touch. European real estate or Caribbean Passport programs might be a better fit for them.

However no matter what happens in both China and the US, the Chinese demand for outbound investments will be increasingly high, as Chinese real estate bubble continue to produce tens of thousands qualified investors, Chinese will dominate EB-5 investment market for next few years. 

At the very end of my China trip, I was really feeling troubled with the current EB-5 regional center program and it has to be reformed.

Facing ever-changing market, nearly 30 migration professionals from China, Canada and the UK will be gathering to attend our 2016 Executive Training Program and US China Investment Forum next week, we will engage further discussions and develop new working strategies.

To learn more about EB-5 investments from China, please join us at 2016 US China Investment Chicago Forum on June 30!

Monday, June 20, 2016

USCIS Invitation: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program: Stakeholder Engagement

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Sent: Monday, June 20, 2016 3:49 PM Subject: USCIS Invitation: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program: Stakeholder Engagement from Miami, 07/28/2016

Dear Stakeholder,

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a stakeholder engagement from Miami on Thursday, July 28, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to discuss the Immigrant Investor Program.  This engagement is part of our ongoing efforts to enhance dialogue with our stakeholders in the program, also known as EB-5.

During the first part of this engagement, USCIS officials will provide EB-5 program updates. The second part will be a question-and-answer session. We invite you to ask non-case specific questions or provide feedback on the EB-5 program.

Participation Details:
You may attend this engagement either in person at the USCIS Miami District Office or by teleconference.

To register, please follow these steps:
·        Visit our registration page
·        Enter your email address and select “Submit”
·        Select “Subscriber Preferences”
·        Select the “Event Registration” tab
·        Provide your full name and organization, if any
·        Complete the questions and select “Submit”

If you wish to attend in person, please indicate so in your subscriber preferences when selecting your method of attendance. Please note that seating is limited, so we encourage you to register early.
Once we process your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with additional details.

To submit non-case specific questions before the engagement: Email us at Please submit all questions by Tuesday, June 28, at 5 p.m. (Eastern).

If you have any questions regarding the registration process, or if you have not received a confirmation email within two business days, please email us at the same address.
Note to Media: This engagement is not for press purposes. Please contact the USCIS Press Office at (202) 272-1200 for any media inquiries.

We look forward to engaging with you!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Seattle Times editorial board: End the corrupted EB-5 visa program

Seattle Times editorial board says: The EB-5 visa program is especially susceptible to corruption and of questionable worth. Congress should let it die. Read its editorials at

Friday, June 17, 2016

New EB-5 regional centers

USCIS publishes new EB-5 regional center additions:
  • Deictic Investment Group – California (California)
  • Onefire Healthcare Services, LLC d.b.a. Onefire Regional Center (Oklahoma)
  • Texas First Regional Center, LLC (Texas)
  • Texas Regional Investment Center (Texas)
  • West Bridge Regional Center, LLC (Texas)

    To learn more about EB-5 immigrant investor program, please contact us at

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Smash Companies to be Platinum Sponsor at 2016 US China Investment Forum

Smash Companies has announced Platinum Sponsorship for the June 30th US China Investment Forum. The one day conference hosted in Chicago, IL will focus on attracting Chinese private equity and EB-5 capital into US real estate investments. Mr. Scott Greenberg, President of Smash Companies will share his insights of the Chinese markets.

For more information about June 30th conference and registration, click here.

SEC and EB-5 Regional Center agree to Offers of Settlement.

(Source: SEC) Respondents paid transaction based compensation to unregistered broker-dealers, causing the broker-dealers to violate Section 15(a)(1) of the Exchange Act. Those unregistered broker-dealers, who were mostly immigration attorneys, represented individuals seeking U.S. residency through the Immigrant Investor Program and recommended and helped effect the purchases of securities offered by American Life. For a period of time, Respondents paid transaction-based compensation to these unregistered broker-dealers for each investment that they facilitated.

Respondent American Life Shall pay a civil money penalty in the amount of $1,000,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission for transfer to the general fund of the United States Treasury, subject to Exchange Act Section 21F(g)(3). Read settlement here.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

USCIS Changes to EB-5 Program Appear Imminent

(Source: Homeier & Law) DHS has just publicly announced its intention to propose and carry out “updates” (i.e., significant changes) to the EB-5 Program.

USCIS (an agency within DHS) has made frequent mention on recent Stakeholder Engagements and at industry conferences of its conviction that it has the rulemaking authority to unilaterally change the Program’s regional center rules, notwithstanding the absence of formal legislation in Congress.

Last week, DHS published Rule RIN 1615-AC07 in the Unified Regulatory Agenda entitled, “Improvement of the Employment Creation (EB-5) Immigrant Regulations.”  According to the rule, “[u]nique EB-5 program issues which will be addressed in the updated regulation are:  the designation of Targeted Employment Areas; indirect job creation; the required investment amount; material changes effect on conditional residency; the regional center designation process; and monitoring for regional center compliance.”  See:

Last year’s Senate Bill 1501 addressed all these same issues; and integrity provisions from that bill have been included, for the most part, in the Senate and House EB-5 Integrity Acts introduced in their respective chambers during the past several months.  EB-5 industry stakeholders, including IIUSA, the EB5 Investment Coalition, and the EB-5 Securities Roundtable, are currently engaging Congress on the initial and pending legislation, which remains a work in progress.  It appears that in the meantime, USCIS will propose, and make, changes to the EB-5 Program on its own, very likely before the Regional Center Program’s current sunset date of September 30, 2016.

Clients and colleagues are cautioned to be prepared for significant changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program over the next four months stemming from USCIS’ actions.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

July 2016 Visa Bulletin Update: China EB-5 Visa Numbers Grind to a Halt – The Waiting Line Gets Longer

(Source: Wolfsdorf Rosenthal) The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) just released the July 2016 Visa Bulletin, and the China EB-5 cut-off date remains frozen at February 15, 2014.  While the numbers have never retrogressed (meaning gone backwards), the slow crawl has come to a halt.  Below are five observations on the July 2016 Visa Bulletin: For the first time since August 2015, the priority date for EB-5 visas did not move forward. Instead, as indicated in the June 2015 Visa Bulletin, visa numbers have only been authorized for those Chinese EB-5 investors whose approved Form I-526 was filed prior to February 15, 2014, as indicated by Chart A – Application Final Action Dates, now creating a 28.54 month wait.  How will this affect children who may potentially “age out” due to the EB-5 Chinese waiting line? Read complete article.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Report from China: can we trust EB-5 developers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  announcement on fraud charges against a couple associated with Pacific Proton Therapy Regional Center shocked the industry yesterday, and news quickly traveled to China.  The project was represented in Chinese market by Delsk Group.  Delsk Group made an official statement that they will take full responsibility to monitor the situation and legal developments. Many Chinese migration agents and investors are asking the same question through social media and internet chatrooms: can we trust EB-5 developers at all? 

Artisan Business Group will be hosting the US China Investment Chicago Forum on June 30th, the EB-5 integrity, fraud prevention and Chinese market trends will be hot topics at the event.  To learn more about the Forum, log on 

Joop Bollen Pleads Not Guilty In Alleged EB-5 Visa Program Scandal

(KTLD News) Joop Bollen wasn't required to enter a plea at Friday's arraignment. But his attorney, Reed Rasmussen, entered a not-guilty plea and requested a jury trial. See news report at

Thursday, June 2, 2016

SEC Halts EB-5 Scheme Stealing Investments in Cancer Center

(Source: SEC) The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a husband and wife accused of misusing two-thirds of the money they raised from investors for the purpose of building and operating a new cancer treatment center that would use proton beam radiation to help oncology patients in Southern California.

According to the SEC’s complaint unsealed today in federal court in Los Angeles, Charles C. Liu and Xin “Lisa” Wang raised $27 million for the proton therapy cancer treatment center from 50 investors in China through the EB-5 immigrant investor program.  They touted in promotional materials that the project would create more than 4,500 new jobs and have a substantial impact on the local economy while giving foreign investors an opportunity for future U.S. residency.  But presently there is no construction at the proposed site after more than 18 months of collecting investments.  Liu meanwhile has transferred $11 million in investor funds to three firms in China and diverted another $7 million to his and his wife’s personal accounts.

In granting the SEC’s request to freeze the assets and accounts of Liu, Wang, and related entities, the court’s order prohibits them from raising further money from investors or spending remaining funds.

“We allege that Liu and Wang are using investor funds as their personal piggy bank and exploiting Chinese residents who were assured they were investing in an innovative project to create jobs and cure cancer patients,” said Michele Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.

According to the SEC’s complaint, one of the websites Liu and Wang have used to promote investments in the cancer center project includes a section entitled “Government Support” with photos of former president George Herbert Walker Bush and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Their photos are accompanied by what appear to be letters they wrote in support of proton therapy in general rather than the depicted EB-5 project, which had not even been initiated at the time the letters were written. 

The SEC’s complaint names Liu and Wang along with the companies behind the EB-5 project: Pacific Proton Therapy Regional Center, Pacific Proton EB-5 Fund, and Beverly Proton Center LLC.  They are charged with violating antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  The SEC seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions as well as the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties. 

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Tony Regenstreif and Lorraine L. Pearson and supervised by Victoria A. Levin of the Los Angeles office.  The SEC’s litigation will be led by John Berry.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

EB-5 in Fiscal Year 2016 – Has The Bubble Burst?

(Source: Bernard Wolfsdorf) On May 25, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released updated performance data on the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (Form I-526) and the Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions (Form I-829). The data included the number of Forms I-526 and Forms I-829 received, approved, denied, and pending.  Below are 5 observations:
  1. USCIS received only 848 Forms I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur in Q2 of FY 2016 (January 2016 through March 2016), as opposed to 6,277 in Q1 of FY 2016 (October 2015 through December 2015) and 2,337 for the identical period in Q2 of FY 2015 (January 2015 through March 2015). This represents an 86% decline in initial EB-5 filings in the past quarter alone, and a 63% drop from the number of Form I-526 filings during the same time last year.
  2. Despite receiving only a fraction of Form I-526 petitions in Q2 of FY 2016, as compared to Q1 of FY 2016, USCIS reduced the number of Forms I-526 pending at USCIS by 1,753. There are currently 20,235 Form I-526 petitions pending at USCIS
  3. The denial rate for Forms I-526 has increased for the fourth consecutive quarter. We can therefore anticipate that at least a quarter (1/4) of the Form I-526 petitions currently pending with USCIS will be denied and that the attrition rate will also be higher if Form I-526 petitions are withdrawn.

  4. USCIS received more Forms I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions during Q2 of FY 2016 (845) than Q1 of FY 2016 (821) but reduced the number of Forms I-829 adjudications by almost half, or 47%. It is likely USCIS may be allocating resources to pending Forms I-526 in an attempt to reduce the current I-526 backlog.  There are now a total of 4,712 Form I-829 petitions pending at USCIS, the highest ever.
  5. While the number of Form I-829 adjudications decreased substantially, the number of Form I-829 petitions denied remained extremely small with only 10 cases, or 1.22% in Q1 of FY 2016 to 12 cases, or 2.77% in Q2 of FY 2016. USCIS therefore appears committed to a policy of denying cases at the initial I-526 stage, so as to avoid the consequences of having to place immigrant investors in removal proceedings, often due to no fault of their own other than possibly having picked an EB-5 project that did not succeed in creating the requisite number of jobs. Further, there was a significant drop in the number of Form I-829 approvals in Q2 of FY 2016 (421), as compared to Q1 in FY 2016 (812), representing a 48% decrease.
In conclusion, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP sees a vast drop-off in EB-5 filings and an increase in initial filing (Form I-526) denials.  However, because of the three short-term extensions to the EB-5 Program in 2015, it appears almost every Chinese investor who was interested in filing for EB-5 did so last year.  It is likely that Chinese EB-5 investors will dive back in again, and there might even be another surge, again, as the September 30, 2016 sunset date is approached — with the likelihood that the minimum investment amount will increase to $800,000, or more.  We therefore feel there was a bubble, but we also believe the demand for EB-5 visas from Chinese investors will increase and continue to be strong for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Monday, May 30, 2016

US China Investment Chicago Forum to discuss EB-5 market future in China

US China Investment Chicago Forum is taking place on June 30, 2016 in Naperville (west suburb of Chicago), Illinois.  The much-anticipated investment and finance forum will bring together executives and professionals real estate investment industry's most active market participants for a day of high level discussion, peer to peer exchanges and one on one networking sessions.  We are expecting over 20 executives from China to participate in this event.
The event will have limited seats for senior-level executives from both the US and China and will feature honest and in-depth dialogues with the leading experts on how to effectively attract private equity and EB-5 investments from China.  In addition, the Forum offers unique networking sessions that willenable participants to establish useful and productive contacts and generate fresh deal flow or potential investment opportunities as well as possible funding leads from equity partners in China.  Invited speaker/panelist faculty will be announced.
Program Schedule:9:00 am  Welcome Remarks

9:15 -10:15 am   US Real Estate: Private Equity Investment from China
10:30 - 11:30 am  What is Next: EB-5 Financing from China
12 -1:00 pm  Networking Luncheon
1:30-2:30 pm  Exploring Direct Investment Opportunities
3:00 - 4:30 pm  Networking Session

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Foreign Investors Left In Immigration Limbo As Officials Investigate EB-5 Fraud

(Source: Vermont NPR) Many foreign investors  in Jay Peak’s EB-5 developments are scrambling in the wake of charges that the resort orchestrated a massive securities fraud with their money. But it’s more than just money riding on the outcome for some investors. Read complete report at

Friday, May 27, 2016

New EB-5 regional centers designated by USCIS

New EB-5 regional centers have been designated by USCIS

  • LA Growth Fund, LLC (California)
  • Atlantic Coast Regional Center, LLC (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia)
  • Excelsior EB-5 Regional Center LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York)
  • C Chase Hotel & Resort Regional Center LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
  • Harmonia Regional Center New York (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York)
  • American Lending Center North Carolina, LLC (North Carolina, South Carolina)
To learn more about EB-5 immigrant investor program, please contact us at