Kingdom Con defense lawyers claim Vt. brass knew about fraud

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:56 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - New court documents released this week allege top Vermont officials knew about the bogus business scheme related to the Kingdom Con scandal that rocked the Northeast Kingdom.

The motion to release the documents was filed by defense attorneys for former Jay Peak President Bill Stenger on Wednesday and was first reported by the VTDigger. Those documents also include FBI records recounting the interviews. Those were filed under seal but quoted from in the motion.

According to the documents, former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and other state officials knew about the Kingdom Con from an internal investigation in the spring of 2015.

As federal investigators were closing in on Miami businessman Ariel Quiros, the documents say the unfinished hotel at Burke was becoming a “political quagmire” for Shumlin.

According to the records, Shumlin and Quiros met on New Year’s Day to talk about “all of the problems” at Jay Peak.

The records released this week allege that Governor Shumlin knew of Quiros’ dealings.

It’s all part of Vermont’s largest-ever fraud case that targeted foreign investors with green cards in exchange for half-million-dollar investments to spur economic development in projects at Jay, Burke and in Newport.

But prosecutors say those projects were part of a multimillion-dollar Ponzi-like scheme that netted Quiros millions of dollars. They say he spent it on real estate, cars and even a restaurant in Miami.

There have been questions about what role if any state leaders at the time played in promoting the EB-5 program.

This follows a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the EB-5 investors last month, alleging Governor Shumlin and others knew about the fraud a year before federal investigators shut it down.

Stenger, Quiros and William Kelley have all entered guilty pleas. The court has scheduled an evidentiary hearing next month.

We reached out to Governor Shumlin and others who were named in these new documents who declined to comment.

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