SEC Charges NY Businessman for Cheating Green Card Hopefuls
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Tuesday charged a New York-based entrepreneur and his companies with making fraudulent misrepresentations in securities offerings to investors who paid tens of millions in hopes of obtaining permanent residency status.
Green Card hopefuls.Nadim Ahmed and his companies, NuRide Transportation Group LLC and NYC Green Transportation Group LLC, are accused of offering unregistered securities to foreign investors through the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The SEC alleges that the defendants sidestepped regulations to raise more than US$66 million from more than 100
Through EB-5, an individual can become a U.S. permanent resident if they make substantial investments in businesses that generate full-time jobs for American citizens. While the current benchmark stands at a little over $1 million, foreign nationals need only contribute $800,000 if it stimulates growth in targeted areas of high unemployment.
The program also allows investors to obtain Green Cards for their children and spouses, thereby fast-tracking entire families’ paths to U.S. citizenship.
According to the SEC’s complaint, from June 2014 to December 2018, Ahmed, NuRide and NYC Green falsely told investors that his transportation companies would be operated in accordance with the EB-5 visa program’s requirements.
The proposed plan was to assemble a fleet of for-hire vehicles, including handicap-accessible, livery, and luxury cars, to be run by NYC Green.
However, since the $66 million in securities that Ahmed allegedly raised were actually unregistered with the SEC, it made his investors’ contributions invalid for Green Card consideration.
“For years,” the SEC said, “to induce investors to part with their money, Ahmed, NuRide, and NYC Green made misrepresentations to investors about management’s investment in and the structure of NYC Green as well as the use of investor proceeds.”
Additionally, the defendants allegedly lied to their 100-plus investors by signing revenue-generating transportation contracts under NuRide’s name, despite making assurances that the business would be managed by NYC Green.
Also charged is New York-based immigration attorney Mehreen Shah, a.k.a Mona Shah, for her alleged role in drawing up the unregistered securities.
On top of the tens of millions accrued by the group, they also charged a $50,000 administrative fee from each investor, the SEC said.
Ultimately, between 2014 and 2018, NuRide received millions of dollars that were actually advertised for NYC Green. Ahmed also took a $200,000 annual base salary for himself, had various expenses reimbursed by the company, and a new Mercedes, the financial watchdog alleged.
As a result, to date none of Ahmed’s investors have received permanent residency status from the U.S., nor have they had their money returned to them.
Should it prevail in the civil action, the SEC “seeks permanent and conduct-based injunctions, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties,” the release said.