A US EB-5 investor visa is becoming more and more popular among investors all over the world. However, investors from China always occupy the first place in terms of issued visas. Each year over 7,000 Chinese investors obtain an EB-5 visa.
Though the US Bureau of Consular Affairs tries to minimise the number of fraud cases, they still happen. On 2 April 2018, it was reported that three Chinese investors sued a California family that operated as EB-5 visa intermediaries for fraud and embezzlement.
In 2015, 8,156 visas were issued to investors from China, 280 to Vietnamese investors, 111 to investors from the United Arab Emirates, 30 from South Africa, 9 from India.
In 2016, over 7,500 visas were issued to Chinese investors, 334 to Vietnamese, 260 to South Koreans, 149 to Indians, 58 to Nigerians, 18 to the UAE investors.
In 2017, Chinese investors still took the first place with 7,567 visas, followed by Vietnamese with 471 issued visas, South Koreans with 195 visas, Indians with 471, Nigerians with 89, and investors from UAE got 12 visas.
According to The Real Deal, the defendants, attorney Victoria Chan together with her parents, father Tat Chan and mother Zheng Chan, run several funds making Chinese investors believe that they were contributing money in EB-5 projects. They were promised green cards after investing the money and following the terms of the EB-5 visa program.
The three Chinese investors, Tian Li, Yan Sheng Yang, and Jun Jie Zeng, claim that they invested more than $1.5 million ($500,000 each plus fees the defendants allegedly charged) in the EB-5 program back in 2011. Reportedly after receiving the investment, the Chans who served as intermediaries spent everything on “lavish items such as vehicles, homes, and other real estate properties.”
The Chans allegedly bought at least 5 homes around Southern California that worth more than $1 million each. In total, the Chang family has reportedly bought over a dozen of houses in the following cities: Diamond Bar, Arcadia, Bradbury, Rancho Cucamonga, and Riverside.
The Chinese investors want the Chans to return their investment by passing the ownership rights on those residential properties. They also asked a judge to claim a certain amount of money for their emotional distress.
As of April 2018, the number for the California Investment Immigration Fund operated by the Chans is no longer working as well as the company’s website.
It’s not the only case of fraud registered under EB-5 visa program. In 2016 alone, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission brought enforcement actions against nearly $1 billion worth of fraudulent EB-5 projects.