- Associated Press - Friday, April 15, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Patrick Leahy, has been a longtime supporter of the program known as EB-5, which allows wealthy foreigners to obtain special visas in exchange for investing $500,000 in job creation in economically distressed areas.

Now, Leahy is calling for fixing or ending the program described by federal investigators as highly susceptible to fraud. And he says he’s shocked and saddened by civil fraud charges brought against a pair of Vermont developers by state and federal authorities.

The reaction follows Thursday’s announcement that a series of development projects launched in northern Vermont by businessmen Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros are the targets of the fraud investigation.

Leahy says he’s been proposing reforms to the program for years, so far without getting the needed changes made.

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