SAM Magazine—Burlington, Vt., May 22, 2019—The U.S. attorney’s office in Vermont is levying federal criminal charges against four of the people allegedly involved in defrauding foreign investors as part of the EB-5 program, which funded significant infrastructure developments at both Jay Peak and Burke Mountain in Vermont.
Those indicted include former Jay Peak and Burke owner Ariel Quiros, former Jay Peak CEO Bill Stenger, former Q Resorts COO Bill Kelly, and AnC Bio CEO Jong Weon “Alex” Choi. It appears most of the charges against all four men involve the failed AnC Bio Vermont project in Newport, Vt.—a planned biotech company based out of Korea led by Choi. The name AnC is a moniker for “Ariel and Choi.”
Indictments unsealed today in federal district court include 14 unique counts against the four. Quiros is named in 12 of the counts, including wire fraud and engaging in false monetary transactions. The others each have 10 indictments against them, including wire fraud. All charges are offense level 4, class D felonies.
The charges stem from a federal investigation that began more than three years ago when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) placed Vermont’s Jay Peak and Burke Mountain into receivership and charged Quiros and Stenger with defrauding foreign investors as part of the federal EB-5 program.
Since then, the state and federal civil lawsuits against them have been settled, with Quiros paying millions in penalties, and Stenger tens of thousands for his alleged involvement. Today’s indictments are the first criminal charges in the case.
Quiros and Kelly appeared before the federal district court earlier this morning. Stenger appeared later this morning. It's been reported that Stenger pleaded not guility and was released on $100,000 bail.
Jay and Burke do not appear to be affected by the latest developments. “We’ve obviously been reading the news of late, but the various chapters of this story have never affected resort operations,” said Jay Peak communications and events director JJ Toland. “Since the receivership began more than three years ago, we’ve been focused on attracting and retaining talent, and growing both top line revenue and bottom line profitability. Having a happy and engaged staff is the biggest differentiator we can have in an industry where customer service is critical. And from a bottom-line profitably perspective, we’ve increased our EBITA contribution by close to 50 percent since being placed in receivership.”