Former ski resort owners face sentencing for Vermont fraud

Burlington, Vermont (AP) —Former owners of two ski resorts in Vermont allegedly were involved in a failed plan to build a biotechnology plant in Vermont with the funds of tens of millions of dollars of foreign investors. , Was sentenced on Friday.

The ruling of Jay Peak and Ariel Kiros, the former owner of Burke Mountain, concludes the largest fraud case in Vermont’s history.

A financial scandal involving Kiros and two others shook the state and its regions. Economically depressed areas It is called the Northeast Kingdom. There are still many fourth men who are Korean businessmen.

Prosecutors described Miami businessman Kiros as a “cart puller” who played a role in the larger plan.

“Without a toxic mixture of the strong personalities of these three men, crime could not have happened,” US lawyer assistants Paul Van de Graaff and Nicole Kate wrote in the decision.

Former Jay Peak President William Stenger and Kiros Advisor William Kelly use millions of dollars raised through a visa program to encourage foreigners to invest in job-creating ventures in Newport, Vermont. Indicted in 2019 for a failed plan to build an AnC bioplant in exchange for a chance to obtain permanent residence in the United States.

Quiros was found guilty of wire fraud, money laundering, and a plot to conceal important information related to the AnC project in August 2020. The other nine claims have been withdrawn.

Stenger in Newport and Kelly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida were each sentenced to 18 months in prison earlier this month. Stenger ordered payment of $ 250,000 When Kelly pays $ 8.3 million in damages.

The prosecutor, based on his cooperation and acceptance of liability, asked the judge to sentence Quiros to a sentence of up to eight years under a judicial transaction. The defense called for 18 months of house arrest because of his cooperation, military service, and the health problems of his wife.

The prosecution said the project was designed to raise $ 110 million from 220 investors to build and operate a biotechnology facility, according to court records and procedures. Between 2012 and 2016, about 170 investors each invested at least $ 500,000, for a total of about $ 85 million, but the project was not built, prosecutors said.

Three years before Quiros and Stenger were prosecuted, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Vermont claimed to have participated in a “massive eight-year fraudulent program” in 2016. In civil lawsuits, of the approximately $ 400 million raised from foreign investors, more than $ 200 million was used to develop various ski resorts “in a pongee-like manner” through the same visa program.

Quiros and Stenger settled a civil lawsuit with the SEC, and Quiros waived more than $ 80 million in assets, including two resorts.

The prosecutor relied on Kelly and Stenger for Quiros to deal with the details in the recommendation of the criminal case, Stenger was the face of the fundraiser and biotechnology plant project, and Kelly carried out his wishes. I wrote that I solved the problem.

Kiros was more interested in profits than details and “recognized that these experts gave him a cover,” the prosecutor wrote. “He wanted the gravy train to keep rolling, if possible,” they write.

Quiros’s lawyer wrote that Quiros had overwhelmingly expressed his resentment and desire to atone, took full responsibility for his actions, and “substantially regretted.”


Burlington’s Associated Press author Wilson Ring contributed to this report.