Stenger gets prison for green card EB-5 fraud

Bill Stenger at a press conference – photo by Newport Dispatch.

by the Newport Dispatch

NEWPORT — William Stenger, 73, of Newport, was sentenced Thursday, April 14 to 18 months in prison in connection with the AnC Vermont EB-5 project in the Northeast Kingdom.

Stenger was also ordered a 3-year term of supervised release and must pay $250,000 in restitution.

The sentencing follows Stenger’s guilty plea to a felony count of knowingly and willfully submitting false documents to the Vermont Regional Center in connection with his involvement in the AnC Vermont project. According to court records and proceedings, the AnC Vermont project was designed to raise $110 million from 220 immigrant investors in order to construct and operate a biotechnology facility in Newport. EB-5 immigrant investors could qualify for permanent resident status by investing $500,000 in a commercial enterprise.

In order to obtain a green card, each investor needed to demonstrate that his or her investment had created, or would create within a few years, ten jobs. For the AnC Vermont project, it was necessary for Stenger and his co-defendants to demonstrate a plan to create at least 2,200 jobs in a short timeframe in order to obtain approval.

From 2012 to 2016, approximately 169 investors invested approximately $85 million in the AnC Vermont project, in addition to paying approximately $8 million in “administrative fees.” Fundraising was never completed, and the AnC Vermont facility was never constructed.

Stenger pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to the Vermont Regional Center in January of 2015 as part of his effort to allow him to continue marketing the AnC Vermont project.

As Stenger admitted during his change of plea hearing, due to VRC’s concerns about a number of aspects of the AnC project, Stenger had agreed with the VRC in late June 2014 to suspend offering and marketing of the project.

Stenger knew that he had to provide answers to questions from VRC about the project’s financial projections and about the status of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approvals needed for the commercialization of the products in order to be permitted to market the project again.

Stenger’s January 2015 submission addressed, among other things, these topics.

Both the financial projections and the FDA timeline impacted whether the project would create the number of jobs needed for the investors to obtain immigration benefits.

The AnC Vermont fraud involved the defendants’ misrepresentations about job creation and future revenues, and the defendants’ misuse of investor funds.

Stenger’s guilty plea centered on the misrepresentation aspect of the fraud.

In connection with his sentencing, Stenger agreed not to dispute a broader set of facts asserted by the government in a sentencing-related brief, including that he participated in the misuse of investor funds along with co-defendants Ariel Quiros and William Kelly.

Their misuse of funds was principally caused by debts and cost overruns on earlier EB-5 projects, for which Stenger bore significant responsibility.

Stenger was the general partner for the EB-5 projects and assumed responsibility for how investors’ funds were used. While Stenger was not principally responsible for executing the misuse of investor funds, he knew about and assisted in it. He hid the projects’ financial problems from the VRC, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and investors, and he repeatedly abused his position of trust to assure regulators and investors that the projects were successful, and nothing was wrong.

Co-defendant William Kelly pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and concealment charges in July 2021. His sentencing hearing is scheduled to occur before Chief Judge Crawford on April 20, 2022.

Co-defendant Ariel Quiros pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and concealment charges in August 2020. His sentencing is scheduled to occur before Chief Judge Crawford on April 29, 2022.

Both Quiros and Kelly agreed to cooperate in the government’s ongoing matters. Co-defendant Choi remains at large.

Categories: Crime

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11 replies »

  1. 18 months!!! Wow that’s a big deal. Can you imagine what would have happened to us if they had succeeded. When is Leahy, Bernie and the rest going to be charged too. They played a big part in it.

    • Yes….and there was a tall VT Governor….forgot his name….he had a Very big nose…….um deeply involved as I recall…….WHAT WAS HIS NAME????

  2. Here’s a different or prehaps more contemporary view of the criminal justice system, sentencing and the Stenger case.

    Over the past few years this country has been overwhelmed with the cry of a lack of social justice in the American criminal system…….A cry that has labeled the criminal justice issue as racist…….The charge of racism in the justice system is made because certain minority groups repeatedly and disproportionally commit certain types of crimes and subsequently get sentenced.

    Now, Mr. Stenger has been convicted on a charge of white collar crime, an offense that is disproportionally committed by and brought against white men…..And Stenger is a white man.

    Based in everything we’ve been hearing about criminal justice and skin color, could the charges brought against Stenger be racist? The issue here isn’t whether or not Stenger committed the crime……He did and admitted it. The issue is the color of his skin and the fact that white men are disproportionally charged with and sentenced for white collar crimes.

    By today’s Progressive criminal justice standards, looks like Stenger is a victim of a corrupt justice system…….What will the activists and the Vermont legislature do to insure social justice for Mr. Stenger?

  3. I’d say they were using him as the fall-guy, but 18 months is hardly a fall. He should have gotten a lot more. Anyone want to bet he only does a month or two? You know….time off for good behavior….

  4. When I was a N.Troy Village Trustee this arrogant jerk came barging into our meeting unannounced & DEMANDED our (then) cop stop wirting speeding tickets for “his” skiers, when not ONE ticket issued was for 10+ MPH over the posted limit. Then he attended a school board meeting once mumbling something about “education HIS future workforce” and then, in 2011 when my NEKYV weekly news show showd that “AnC-Bio” was operating from a corner office of a sports betting firm in Seoul, Korea & had NO P to E ratio, NO secure patents, NOTHING we were branded as “naysayers” by Stinker & the local “press”? This former Ins. salesman from the Lehigh Valley attached himself to a mole-hill “ski area” there & began his “rise” to Jay Peak & beyond..I have offered a “reward” to any Newport City Employee who can find & bring me one of the MANY chrome shovels used in this scam..I wonder if they were given away to the MANY politicians attending “groundbreaking” w/the white hard hats? And the stacks of “artists renderings” used to bamboozle the locals in this massive swindle..Other comments are RIGHT, WHERE are ALL the state employees who assisted in this SCAM? “Qualified Immunity” isn’t just for cops and surely the VLCT & unions will cover the lawyers fees..

    • Steve Merrill – Good luck in your quest to locate a shovel….I’m searching for a full size copy of the “follow the money” flow chart. I’d pay for one of those. Can’t find one anywhere.

  5. I like Bill Stenger and regret this outcome. I don’t believe Stenger was convicted of “fraud”. He pled guilty to misrepresenting projections of future prospects of ANCbio and failing to notify investors
    that FDA might or might not approve it sooner or later, which are punishable. / “Fraud” suggests that the whole project was cooked up to pocket millions from unsuspecting foreigners without ever building or producing anything.. I’m pretty certain that it was not. What I think happened was that Stenger, busy raising investments and building condos and water parks and ski areas (Burke) turned the cash flow over to Quiros in Florida, who criminally mishandled the money. When Choi brought in the ANCbio plan from South Korea, Stenger assumed it would materialize, and when he learned that it wouldn’t, he was too slow about shutting down the whole project. I have no inside information and of course I could be wrong.

  6. John, I’d LOVE to have YOU on my jury! What part of “submitting false documents” regarding “job creation, future revenues, & misuse of investor funds” don’t you get? And I remember the Anc-Bio being completely BS (aka Bill Stinker) * he brought out all these “Lees” so many we joked that there was Robt. E Lee, & even Bill “The Spaceman” Lee to “vouch” for this so-called “project”. If some Dummy w/a local cable show like ME could do a quick ‘net search about And-Bio then WHERE were the “legacy” press? WHERE were the state “overseers”? Seem more like “over-lookers” than overseers as there’s NONE so blind as those who will not see, even Newport’s mayor was video taping an interview in NEKTV’s studio the VERY DAY the Fed’s were descending upon “Q-Burke” mountain, touting the “progress” of this scam..For some reason THAT interview NEVER aired..I wonder why? This whole debacle reminds me of that old SHOW called “The Music Man” where rubes & dupes only SAW what they wanted w/out asking serious questions & the STATE EMPLOTEES should not escape scrutiny for this either..

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