Immigration program targeted by fraud investigation

fraudmagnifyingglassDozens of investigations have been opened by federal agents into allegations of fraud involving the immigration program that offers the possibility of a green card to foreign investors who sink at least $500,000 into certain ventures in the United States, a new audit has revealed.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit says that the immigration department is faced with “significant challenges” when it comes to detecting and mitigating the risks of fraud. It also reveals that between January 2013 and January this year over 100 complaints, referrals and tip-offs relating to potential securities frauds were received by the SEC with regard to the EB-5 US visa immigration program, with 59 alleged scam investigations currently open.

Earlier this year ABC News began an investigation into the little-known yet still controversial and highly-popular immigration program to examine allegations that it had become a massive target for fraud and resulted in the creation of an avenue for spies and criminals to enter the United States. The program allows foreigners to invest between $500,000 and $1m in a selected business venture in America in return for an entry visa. If the venture succeeds in creating 10 or more new jobs after a period of two years, the investor then becomes eligible to get a green card.

Hundreds of companies have opened to facilitate investments via the EB-5 program; however, the GAO report says the program carries a high risk of fraud, as some investors are more interested in the green card than in their investment.