United States: New EB-5 Regional Center Compliance Audits And Recent FBI Raids Suggest Increasing Enforcement Of Future EB-5 Program

While the EB-5 industry has endured more than three years of increasingly shrill (publicly, at least) Congressional debates, which has spawned a seemingly unlimited number of EB-5 bills introduced into Congress and widespread industry posturing and internal warfare, all ostensibly aimed at modernizing the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and minimizing fraud perpetrated against investors, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently rolled out its long-awaited EB-5 Regional Center Compliance Audit Program.

The Audit Program is advertised as an additional way to enhance EB-5 program integrity and verify information in regional center applications and annual certifications. Under this program, USCIS will collect case-specific data as part of a compliance audit. Skeptics may point out the irony of this approach. Boiled down to its essence, the USCIS compliance auditors will be asking regional centers to provide USCIS with data that they already have in their possession. (Hello, I'm here calling from USCIS, conducting an EB-5 compliance audit. Can you tell us what we should already know?).

The compliance audit will verify the information provided by designated regional centers in applications (I-924) and annual certifications (I-924A). It also verifies compliance with applicable laws and authorities to ensure continued eligibility for the regional center designation. It also includes obtaining information, on a consensual basis, through compliance audit data requests and site inspection.

The Audit

The USCIS EB-5 audit team will perform, but may not be limited to, the following tasks:

  • Review applications, certifications, and associated records;
  • Review public records and information on the regional center;
  • Verify the information, including supporting documents, submitted with the application(s) and in the annual certification(s);
  • Conduct site inspection;
  • Interview personnel to confirm the information provided with the application(s) and annual certification(s).

How to Prepare for a Compliance Audit

  1. Before the site inspections: Regional centers should be prepared to present any information originally submitted with the application(s) or certification(s), any updates to that information, and any information requested in the data request that has not previously been provided. Additional information may also be requested.
  2. During the site inspections: Regional centers should immediately provide any readily available documents and information that the audit team requests to verify information provided in the application(s) or certification(s).
  3. After the site inspections: Regional centers should provide all additional information requested to verify or update information in any follow-up communication from USCIS.
  4. The audit team will document the findings in an audit report, which becomes part of the regional center's record. If the report contains any indicators of fraud, USCIS will assess whether further investigation is warranted.

Participating in a Compliance Audit

Although an EB-5 regional center may decline to participate in a compliance audit, USCIS may follow-up with the regional center separately regarding compliance with program requirements. At any point during an ongoing compliance audit, if the regional center principal expresses an unwillingness to participate in the site inspection, the visit will be terminated. The audit team will complete the audit report using the data available and indicate that the site inspection was terminated at the request of the regional center.

What does this mean to the Regional Center Program?

  1. Since the USCIS announcement does not provide much specificity as to the required documents, one can assume that all public and non-public databases or records are considered fair game.
  2. All regional center financial documents, state filings, economic studies, business plans, securities documents, and – although not specified – one can assume all project-related offering documents (much of which would have already been provided to USCIS and subjected to their adjudications process).
  3. It is also unclear whether the USCIS will audit only the regional center's activities or whether it has the authority to reach the NCE or JCE, particularly if these are only affiliated through a "rent-a-regional-center" arrangement.
  4. Expect further guidance and discussions from the USCIS.

FBI Raids San Gabriel, Arcadia locations over EB-5 Visa Fraud Scheme.

Shortly after the announcement of the EB-5 Regional Center Compliance Audit, the FBI and federal immigration agents, on April 5, 2017, raided a regional center's office (California Investment Immigration Fund or CIIF) in the San Gabriel Valley for evidence related to an alleged $50 million visa fraud scheme. The FBI alleges that US attorney Victoria Chan and her father, Tat Chan, exploited the visa program by misleading over 100 Chinese nationals to invest over $50 million through the EB-5 program. Instead of investing the EB-5 capital into the proposed job creating enterprises (hotel, retail, and hospitality real estate projects), the suspects allegedly spent the money on personal items, cars, and homes. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, federal agents seized client files, emails, computers, cell phones, immigration records, bank records, travel-related documents, deeds, documents on real estate deals, utility and cell phone bills, records of payments, and documents associated with CIIF or its related companies. None of the projects proposed in various locations were ever built.

Increasing Enforcement in EB-5

With similar ongoing investigations, combined with the EB-5 Regional Center Compliance Audit, it is highly recommended that all EB-5 regional centers work closely with their immigration attorneys to prepare well in advance and comply with such audits. Any potential violations of SEC regulations could be internally audited beforehand to assess various risk factors and potential solutions prior to an audit.

Furthermore, victimized EB-5 investors such as the ones allegedly connected to the recent FBI raids should immediately contact an immigration attorney experienced in EB-5 and securities fraud to maximize financial and immigration benefits, while coordinating in conjunction with the SEC, FBI, USCIS, and other federal agencies.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.