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Foreign Investors Defrauded of $66 Million in US Permanent Residency Scam

Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, investors are eligible for permanent residency status in America under certain conditions.
Cover Image Source: Scammers are taking advantage of  the EB-5 visa program | Pexels
Cover Image Source: Scammers are taking advantage of the EB-5 visa program | Pexels

The EB-5 visa program, established in 1990, offers eligible foreign investors the opportunity to obtain permanent residency in the United States. To qualify, investors must meet certain criteria, including investing a minimum of $1.8 million in a new company and creating at least ten full-time jobs for qualified American workers. However, the growth of the EB-5 visa program has also led to an increase in fraudulent activities and crimes perpetrated under the guise of visa provision.

Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Tara Winstead
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Tara Winstead

Recently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against Nadin Ahmed, a New York-based entrepreneur, and his companies NuRide Transportation Group LLC and NYC Green Transportation Group LLC. Ahmed and his associated companies were charged with misrepresentation and false security offerings.

Furthermore, Mehreen Shah, also known as Mona Shah, a practicing immigration lawyer, and her law firm were in hot waters for providing unregistered securities to individuals, ultimately defrauding 100 investors and resulting in the misappropriation of $66 million.

It's a scam! Decoding how the scammers used the EB-5 visa program as a shield to steal heaps of money from investors|Pexels
Image Source: The EB-5 visa program scam | Pexels

According to the SEC report spanning from June 2014 to December 2018, Ahmed and his companies falsely assured investors that NYC Green Transportation Group LLC operated in compliance with EB-5 visa program requirements, guaranteeing them residential status. Furthermore, they deceitfully claimed that company leaders had invested $11 million to facilitate investors' immigration.

"All offering materials, including those provided to investors seeking residency under the EB-5 program, must contain accurate disclosures about the securities being issued," said Thomas P. Smith, Jr., Associate Regional Director in the New York Regional Office. "And all securities offerings must comply with the registration requirements or the exemptions to those requirements," he added.

This scheme went even further, perpetrating various fraudulent acts, including conducting financial agreements under NuRide Transportation Group LLC's name while assuring investors that NYC Green would serve as the primary transportation company. Ahmed also misappropriated investor funds to settle agreements with the SEC for his other companies, diverting funds for his benefit and maintaining the integrity of his businesses.

Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Oleksandr P
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Oleksandr P

Not only Ahmed but also his companies, Shah's law firm, and three other entities were implicated and charged with providing investment information on stocks and bonds to make sales. Surprisingly, these entities were not registered, indicating that they sold unregistered securities and extracted significant sums from investors, with no intention of repayment. Their failure to undergo the registration process stemmed solely from their fraudulent motives.

As per the SEC complaint and subsequent updates, none of the investors have received unconditional permanent residency status, nor are they likely to recover their invested funds. This unfortunate situation showcases the severity of the fraud these individuals and entities perpetrated, leaving investors in a precarious financial and legal predicament.