A California-based developer of senior living communities stole at least $9.6 million from foreign investors to finance his businesses illegally and pay for his “luxury lifestyle,” the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges.
Emilio Francisco, the SEC said in a complaint filed Dec. 27, raised more than $72 million from at least 131 investors, mainly from China, who were seeking permanent U.S. residency in exchange for creating or preserving jobs by investing money in projects through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The investors, the SEC said, were solicited through Francisco’s private equity firm, PDC Capital Group, which according to its website is developing 25 SummerPlace Assisted Living & Memory Care communities in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Other EB-5 projects for which PDC Capital sought investors included Caffe Primo restaurants and a production facility for environmentally friendly agriculture and cleaning products, according to the complaint.
Once Francisco and PDC Capital obtained the funds from investors, however, they were diverted from one project to another, and some were used to buy and maintain a yacht, according to the SEC. The commission maintains that Francisco was aware that the actions would violate federal regulations and jeopardize the granting of visas to the foreign investors.
The SEC’s complaint charges Francisco, PDC Capital and 20 other Francisco-controlled businesses involved in senior living and other sectors with violating the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The government is seeking an emergency asset freeze and a court-appointed receiver over Francisco’s businesses involved in the alleged schemes.
A message left for PDC Capital has not been returned yet. This article will be updated as additional information becomes available.