LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Los Angeles-area law office is one of seven across the country that the SEC accused of improper dealings in EB-5 "investor" visas.
Six attorneys or law offices agreed to cease and desist acting as unregistered brokers by recommending, facilitating or acting liaisons for EB-5 visas, the SEC said.
EB-5, or investor visas, can be given to foreigners who promise to invest $500,000 or more to create at least 10 jobs in designated enterprise zones. The program has been abused frequently, and lawsuits and enforcement actions have come at an increasing tempo this year.
The biggest case the SEC announced Monday claims that Hui Feng, of Flushing, N.Y., and his law offices in Flushing and Alhambra, Calif. "not only acted as unregistered brokers by selling EB-5 investments to more than 100 investors, but they also defrauded clients by failing to disclose they received commissions on the investments in breach of their fiduciary and legal duties. They also allegedly defrauded some entities offering the EB-5 investments," the SEC said in a statement.
The SEC sued Hui Feng and his officers in Los Angeles Federal Court, seeking disgorgement and penalties.
Also Monday the SEC said these offices settled administrative proceedings, without admitting anything, but agreed to cease and desist from acting as registered brokers and pay these disgorgements and penalties:
Mehron P. Azarmehr and Azarmehr Law Group, of Austin, Texas: $30,000 in disgorgement, $2,965 in interest and a $25,000 penalty.
Michael A. Bander and Bander Law Firm, of Miami: $228,750 in disgorgement, $19,434 in interest, and a $25,000 penalty.
Roger A. Bernstein, of Miami: $132,500 in disgorgement $8,243 in interest.
Allen E. Kaye, of Hoboken, N.J.
Taraneh Khorrami, of Los Angeles, $60,000 in disgorgement, $7,843 in interest, and a $25,000.
Mike S. Manesh and Manesh & Mizrahi, of Los Angeles: $85,000 in disgorgement plus $11,159 in interest.
And Kefei Wang, of China: $40,000 in disgorgement, $1,590 in interest and a $25,000.