The former head of a financial services company that defrauded billions of pesos from thousands of investors is now living a life of luxury as a wealthy investor in the United States.
The scam involving Ficrea, detected in 2014, swindled at least 7,000 investors of some 2.7 billion pesos (US $183 million at the time). Many of those lost their life savings.
Considered a fugitive by Mexican authorities, Rafael Olvera Amezcua used stolen funds to gain a permanent residency visa in the U.S. under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, claims a lawsuit filed against him.
Under the program, foreigners who invest at least US $500,000 in certain designated projects and regions in the country can obtain a permanent resident visa that extends to family members included in the application.
Javier Navarro, the bankruptcy trustee for Ficrea, filed the lawsuit against the firm’s ex-boss at a county court in Miami-Dade, Florida.
“Olvera used funds transferred from Mexico to participate in the EB-5 investor visa program and we have information that he indeed obtained a permanent resident visa at the end of 2014 or the start of 2015,” the lawsuit claims.
The legal action seeks to recover more than 100 properties Olvera and his family have bought in the United States with the aim of securing compensation to the tune of US $195 million.
The lawsuit also states that approval of Olvera’s visa application has allowed him to avoid prosecution in Mexico.
“Obtaining this visa has enabled Olvera and his family (wife, son and daughter-in-law) to remain outside the reach of Mexican authorities and continue squandering funds stolen from Ficrea.”
At least four arrest warrants have been issued against Olvera in Mexico but he has reportedly not had any problem with U.S. authorities.
A hearing related to the lawsuit is not scheduled until July 2018.
Apart from US $53 million spent on 108 properties, Olvera and his family have allegedly bought 54 luxury cars in Florida, many of them after Ficrea went bankrupt in 2014.
Other companies owned by Olvera or operated through third parties continued to generate revenues for him even after Ficrea was shut down and he had fled to the United States.
Source: Reforma (sp)