On August 18, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) filed a civil action against Palm House Hotel, LLLP (“PHH”), South Atlantic Regional Center, LLC (“SARC”), Joseph J. Walsh, Sr. (“Walsh”), Robert V. Matthews (“Matthews”) (collectively, the “Defendants”), and named 160 Royal Palm, LLC (“Royal Palm”) and United States Regional Economic Development Authority LLC d/b/a EB5 Petition (“USREDA”) as relief defendants. The case is captioned: SEC v. Palm House Hotel, LLLP, et al., 18-cv-81038-DMM (S.D. FI.). The SEC alleged that, from November 2012 to March 2015, the Defendants defrauded 88 foreign investors participating in an Immigrant Investor Program (the “EB-5 Program”) out of approximately $44 million dollars by misrepresenting that PHH would loan investor funds to Palm House LLC to acquire, develop, and operate the Palm House Hotel located in Palm Beach, Florida. The SEC alleged that, instead, Walsh and Matthews misappropriated a significant portion of the investor funds.
On November 20, 2019, the Court entered final judgment against Royal Palm, ordering Royal Palm to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $27,671,214.35. By final judgments entered on March 11, 2020, the Court ordered SARC, Walsh and USREDA to pay a total of $65,172,165 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, and ordered Walsh to pay a civil penalty of $8,078,000.