William Sorrell

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Federal and state authorities allege massive fraud in Northeast Kingdom development projects

MONTPELIER — The federal Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday unveiled a civil fraud complaint charging a “Ponzi-like scheme” involving the main actors in major Northeast Kingdom development projects for misusing $200 million dollars of foreign investors’ money, while state officials filed a state-level complaint mirroring the federal charges. Ariel Quiros and William Stenger, owners of Jay Peak Resort and the principals heading up eight different development projects through the federal EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, have raised $350 million in $500,000 increments from foreign investors seeking permanent residency in the U.S. through the investor program. Federal and state officials on Thursday said $200 million of the money raised was misused, including $50 million by Quiros for his own personal benefit. The eight ambitious EB-5 projects include improvements at Jay Peak and Q Burke Resorts and a biomedical research facility in Newport. According to the state’s civil complaint, filed in Washington County Superior Court on Thursday, the duo used various limited partnership companies to raise the funds. Continue Reading →

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State police to meet with feds Friday to consider criminal investigation of Sorrell

MONTPELIER — The Vermont State Police clarified Wednesday that Attorney General William Sorrell is not currently facing a criminal investigation for pay-to-play allegations, but may after state authorities consult with federal law enforcement officials on Friday. Sorrell was recently cleared of four alleged campaign finance violations after an investigation by independent counsel Thomas Little. But Little, who was appointed by Gov. Peter Shumlin, punted on two other allegations, including a potential criminal act, saying it was outside the scope of his authority. Vermont State Police spokesman Scott Waterman issued a statement Wednesday evening saying a panel of county state’s attorneys, for whom Little performed his investigation, referred the potential criminal action by Sorrell to the agency as a criminal complaint. “After a civil review of campaign finance activities by Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, the Vermont State Police received a complaint of alleged criminal misconduct from the state’s attorneys conducting the review,” Waterman said in his statement. Continue Reading →

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Exclusive: Investigation report recommends no action against Attorney General Bill Sorrell

MONTPELIER — A report completed by a lawyer appointed to investigate alleged illegal campaign finance activity and other actions by Democratic Attorney General William Sorrell and reviewed by a panel of county state’s attorneys does not recommend any sanctions or penalties, according to a draft report of his findings obtained exclusively by the Vermont Press Bureau. The investigation, conducted by independent counsel Thomas A. Little, “took its scope from the six allegations of the Complaint” filed by attorney Brady Toensing, the vice chairman of the Vermont Republican Party. Four allegations investigated by Little involved campaign finance laws, one allegation involved violations of federal and state criminal statutes and one allegation involved a conflict of interest. Little, who declined to comment on the report Thursday, was tasked with reporting his findings for review to a bipartisan group of eight state’s attorneys that form a new Campaign Finance Review Committee. That committee was to review Little’s investigative findings and determine if any action against Sorrell was warranted. Continue Reading →

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Legislation looks to curb Medicaid fraud

BARRE — Vermont’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives is proposing legislation intended to reduce Medicaid fraud. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. is one of three sponsors of a bipartisan bill that calls for states who convict health care providers of Medicaid fraud to report that information to the federal government, which will then share the information with other states. “There are a number of bad actors that provide fraudulent Medicaid reimbursement bills, and a failure at the federal level to jump on this and get that information out to other states where Medicaid providers might be ripping off the taxpayer,” Welch said during a stop Monday morning at Capstone Community Action, which provides social services to the neediest of Washington County area residents. One of the results of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — commonly referred to as Obamacare — has been an increase in the number of people who are enrolled in Medicaid, which is funded through federal and state dollars. Continue Reading →

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