SEC says it charges lawyer with stealing investor money in EB-5 offerings

© Reuters. A general exterior view of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011.© Reuters. A general exterior view of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged a California lawyer on Tuesday with defrauding people who signed up for an immigrant investor program aimed at creating jobs for Americans.

Emilio Francisco raised $ 72 million from investors in China, the SEC said in a statement. He and his marketing firm, PDC Capital, “diverted investor funds from one project to another and outright stole at least $ 9.6 million that was used to finance Francisco’s own businesses and luxury lifestyle,” it said.

The EB-5 immigrant investor program allows foreigners to apply to permanently live and work in the states by investing money in certain projects that create U.S. jobs, it said.

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