FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., April 23, 2013 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that investors in a fraudulent investment scheme that offered foreign investors a path to citizenship will get their money back promptly thanks to the SEC’s recent court action. A federal district court judge has ordered the return of all investors’ principal investment in the fraudulent securities offering.
Just two months ago, the SEC charged Anshoo R. Sethi and two companies he created in Chicago to sell more than $147 million in securities to purportedly finance the construction of a hotel and conference center near O’Hare Airport. The SEC alleged that Sethi and his companies misled Chinese investors about both the purported investment opportunity and the prospect of gaining legal U.S. residency through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.
The SEC filed its complaint in federal court in Chicago and obtained an emergency court order to freeze investor assets that were at risk of being misappropriated. Sethi and his companies then terminated the offering and consented to the SEC’s motion to return all of the funds held in escrow to investors.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve modified the asset freeze order on April 19 and directed the return of more than $147 million in escrowed funds to investors. The litigation continues as the SEC seeks further monetary relief and permanent injunctions against Sethi and his companies.
“Obtaining the speedy return of investor funds in cases like this is at the core of the SEC’s mission,” said Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “We will continue to work closely with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services when questions arise about investments involving the EB-5 Program.”
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