An article published on Bloomberg Business has highlighted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) focusing in once again on the EB-5 Visa program.
Specifically, transaction based compensation paid to as many as 24 immigration attorneys who helped find investors for regional centers and EB-5 projects. If the immigration attorneys were paid a fee for referring their clients to the particular regional center or EB5 project, they may be in conflict with securities laws.
The most recent SEC foray into the program involves immigration lawyers who helped find investors for the regional centers. If they are paid a fee for doing so, they may be running afoul of securities laws, which require anyone accepting a fee for facilitating a private securities transaction to be registered as a broker.
This is reminiscent of an exchange with the SEC back in May 2010 which denied a ‘no-action’ request relating to a law firm’s activities of referring investors to a company for a fee without registering as a broker-dealer.