AP reports that the FBI has closed its investigation of South Dakota’s shady EB-5 program. U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler reviewed the evidence and decided not to press charges.
In my extensive review of South Dakota’s EB-5 program, I became convinced that the key players in that enterprise were engaged in illegal activity. Attorney General Marty Jackley agreed that economic development chief Richard Benda had committed crimes, but Benda died before Jackley could arrest or indict Benda. EB-5 impresario Joop Bollen absconded with state documents, profited immensely from an illegal no-bid contract that he signed with himself, concealed his activity from the state with illegal lawyering, and loaned tens of millions of dollars without paying bank franchise tax, but our state seems strangely hesitant to even tell us if it’s trying hold Bollen accountable.
We cannot know what evidence Bollen hauled away to his storm shelter or what evidence Benda took to his grave. We do know that leaders of South Dakota’s EB-5 program broke the law.
And now we know that, in the judgment of U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler, there is not enough evidence to charge any of South Dakota’s EB-5 players under federal law.