SEC Gets Asset Freeze in Alleged $125M Fraud Case Involving Chinese Investors Seeking US Immigration

The Securities and Exchange Commission said that an asset freeze has been imposed on Lobsang Dargey, who is accused of bilking Chinese investors looking to obtain residency in the United States through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program. The regulator contends that Dargey and his Path America companies raised $125 million for two real estate projects in Washington State while diverting $14 million for other real estate projects and using $3 million for personal spending.

With the EB-5 program, foreign citizens can qualify for residency in the country as long as they invest at least $500,000 in a specific project that preserves or creates at least 10 jobs in the U.S. Dargey and his companies purportedly got 250 Chinese investors to invest money under the program.

The SEC said that Darby told U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Chinese investors that the funds would go toward a downtown Seattle skyscraper and a residential/commercial development with a farmer’s market in Everett. The regulator also claims that Darby misled investors about their chances of getting permanent residency for their investments. For instance, an investor’s application for residency can be denied if his/her funds are used for a project that materially deviates from the plan that was approved by the USCIS.

In addition to the asset freeze and an order prohibiting Dargey and his companies from going after new investors, the SEC has approved an order expediting discovery of documents and mandating that Dargey bring money he’d moved to accounts abroad back to the U.S.

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP is a stockbroker fraud law firm.

Read the SEC Complaint (PDF)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program