Business & Tech

US regulators are going overboard, Vt. ski resort says

Jay Peak, a Vermont ski resort, is accused of running a Ponzi-like scheme to defraud immigrant investors.
Hazen's Notch Association
Jay Peak, a Vermont ski resort, is accused of running a Ponzi-like scheme to defraud immigrant investors.

The owner of a Vermont ski resort that federal regulators allege ran a Ponzi-like scheme to defraud immigrant investors is fighting an asset freeze in court.

Ariel Quiros, the Miami-based owner of Jay Peak, said in documents filed in federal court in Florida that the Securities and Exchange Commission has been excessive in its actions against him, including last week’s freeze on his companies’ assets.

Quiros on Tuesday requested that a judge modify or lift the freeze. According to court documents, Quiros is unable to buy a cup of coffee or feed his family.

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According to the SEC, Quiros and William Stenger of Newport, Vt., raised $350 million from 700 investors worldwide using the EB-5 visa program, which gives foreigners US green cards for financing job-creating projects. The SEC alleges that more than half of the money raised was misused, and that more than $50 million was “systematically looted” for Quiros’s personal use.

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Quiros denies the allegations, saying that he used investor money appropriately and disclosed how the money would be used.

Most of his $200 million in net worth is tied up in assets, such as Jay Peak, which is now under a court-appointed receiver, “leaving Quiros without the ability to buy food, pay general living and business expenses and pay counsel to protect his rights,” according to court documents.

The SEC declined to comment.

Deirdre Fernandes
can be reached at deirdre.fernandes
@globe.com
. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.