Steps to Take to Protect EB-5 Investors' Interests

Published on 01/06/2017

Hello, my name is Vaughan de Kirby. I’m an investment immigration attorney based here in San Francisco. It’s been a long time since I reached out with a video, but I thought today would be a good time. A lot has been happening in EB-5. We know the filing fees have been raised significantly, but one of the crucial areas that you need to pay attention to now is the new sunset date of April 28. What this means is we have the same law we’ve had in EB-5 until April 28 when we expect Congress to act. No one can accurately predict exactly what Congress will do, it is anticipated that the investment amount will increase. We don’t know how much, but the predictions are $800,000 for the Regional Center Program, and $1.2 million for Direct Investment.

But another important question that has come up recently, which I think we should address is fraud in EB-5. Unfortunately the media tends to focus on the negative, as we all know. They ignore the thousands of success cases, the thousands of jobs that have been created, the great development that has taken place, and the Green Cards that our clients and other investors have received, but we hear a lot about fraud.

Recently, there’s been a press release by the SEC about an attorney by the name of Emilio Francisco. Apparently he’s been accused, and I should point out here that this has not been proven yet; the SEC has merely accused him of these actions. But he’s accused of misusing a large portion of the money he raised for EB-5.  Now this is important information, but what do we do with this information? If we learn something, we’ve got to develop a way to use that information.

In earlier videos, I have talked about due diligence, and the fact that if you’re going to invest in EB-5, make sure that any project you invest in provides you with independent due diligence. If as the investors were investing in Emilio’s project, they had merely done the first step we do in investigating a project, was to investigate Emilio. The first thing you would do is go to the California Bar site, and you would look up his name. If the investors had done that, they would see that he was suspended from practicing law once for discipline, and another time he was placed on probation. For me this would be enough of a red flag that I would never recommend a client invest in this project. This was such a simple act to do to protect those individual investors, but obviously no one did it, or if they did do it, they didn’t take the information seriously. So if you’re speaking with a project, and they have an attorney, or they have recommended an attorney, or an attorney is behind the project, make sure the first thing you do is go to the website for the state, which that attorney says he’s licensed. Now again in California, you can go to the California bar.

Now another aspect, if you have an attorney, who lists California as his or her place of business, look up and make sure they’re licensed in California, because there’re attorneys in California that do not hold a California license. And the reason is very simple. They can’t or haven’t passed the very difficult California Bar Exam.  But because immigration is a federal program, they practice law in immigration, even though they’re not licensed in California. If you want to find out if you have a credible attorney, make sure they’re licensed in the state where they practice law.

Now there are probably other aspects of this project, but we would’ve stopped immediately after we investigated Mr. Francisco. And that’s what you should do. You should require independent due diligence. I recommend you send my office an email to [email protected] and she will provide you with a copy of our due diligence workbook, whether it’s an e-copy, or possible we’ll send you a physical copy. This book and earlier videos we produced outline this due diligence process. Don’t depend on someone else. Make sure you have independent due diligence, and the people you work with are credible.

I wish you the best in EB-5. If you’re careful, it’s the best program. It will get you a Green Card, your family a Green Card, your children a Green Card, and you’ll have a safe investment. I hope this was helpful to you. 

Vaughan de Kirby
Connect with me
San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney