Former Jay Peak CEO to Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison
Bill Stenger was indicted on a litany of Federal charges three years ago.
Thursday, April 14, 2022, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger with Senator Patrick Leahy and Governor Peter Shumlin
Despite a claim from his defense attorney that he would "never plead to anything because he didn't do anything wrong," former Jay Peak CEO Bill Stenger plead guilty to providing a false statement to the government and was sentenced today to eighteen months in prison, plus three years of supervised release, and $250,000 in restitution, VTDigger reported this afternoon.
The sentence was handed down almost six years to the day in which authorities raided Jay Peak and Burke.
Former Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros and former COO Bill Kelly, who also reached plea agreements, are awaiting sentencing.
Bill Stenger and Senator Bernie Sanders
Stenger, a political science major at Syracuse University, started working at at Jay Peak in 1985 and in 2008 recruited Ariel Quiros to purchase the resort from Mont Saint Sauveur International. Following the acquisition, the group's EB-5 immigrant investor proposals expanded throughout the Northeast Kingdom with a planned price tag of $500 million. Meanwhile, Stenger and Quiros started a massive campaign of contributing to politicians, paying for their international junkets, and arranging press conferences and committee appearances to boost investor interest.
Senator Patrick Leahy and Bill Stenger
A Federal program created by Senator Ted Kennedy and championed by Senator Patrick Leahy, EB-5 allows immigrants to obtain a green card in exchange for investing $500,000 in a government endorsed business that creates ten jobs. In the case of the Jay Peak program, 20% to 25% of the investment was taken by developers and agents as fees.
The SEC took control of the properties on April 13, 2016, alleging that Quiros and Stenger were running a Ponzi scheme that was defrauding investors. The businesses were placed in receivership under Michael I. Goldberg, with Leisure Hotels and Resorts of Kansas City appointed to run the resorts.
A cornerstone of the SEC's lawsuit was the allegation that margin loans were taken out with EB-5 funds as collateral, a strategy that Quiros described in detail. Quiros and banker Joel Burstein both stated that Stenger participated in margin loan conversations.
The resorts remain under control of the government appointed receiver.