Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider + Grossman
Harley Tropin and Tucker Ronzetti
Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton
A team of powerhouse attorneys worked together to secure a landmark $150 million settlement with Raymond James in April over the largest securities fraud in the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program.
The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Raymond James aided and abetted the fraud tied to a $350 million fundraising plan to redevelop the Jay Peak ski resort in Vermont.
Developer Ariel Quiros and Raymond James were accused of creating accounts for real estate partnerships, but Quiros allegedly used margin and cross-collateralization to steal the money.
Akerman shareholder Michael Goldberg is the SEC-appointed receiver in charge of the Jay Peak Resort and Burke Mountain Hotel. He was represented by Jeff Schneider with Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider + Grossman and worked closely with Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton attorneys Harley Tropin and Tucker Ronzetti, the lead interim class counsel.
The goal was to get Raymond James to settle quickly to ensure investors could keep their green cards when possible or get their money back quickly when it wasn’t possible with the political landscape in flux on the EB-5 law.
The complex matter involved a receiver case, a class case, and state and federal cases. The legal team coordinated its work to schedule simultaneous depositions and worked in lockstep.
The case for settlement was strengthened after U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles in Miami granted the SEC’s motion for preliminary injunction. That’s when Goldberg called a meeting with Raymond James to gauge its appetite for settlement.
To keep the pressure on Raymond James, the attorneys deployed a good-cop-bad-cop approach with Tropin and Ronzetti playing the litigation heavies and Goldberg and Schneider conducting softer talks. They used congressional review of the EB-5 law as a lever, saying major changes would substantially increase damages.
In a record six months, the landmark settlement was complete, attaining the largest recovery of EB-5 investor losses in U.S history.