A man accused of taking money that was related to a federal program made his initial court appearance in Aberdeen Friday. Joop Bollen is accused of misusing funds connected to the EB-5 program, which offers visas in return for investment dollars.
Joop Bollen faces five class six felony charges of disposing of personal property subject to security interest. He’s accused of taking more than a million dollars over five different occasions, and using the money for personal use. Attorney General Marty Jackley says it’s similar to taking out a car loan: the bank needs to be able to repossess the vehicle if the loan payments stop. He says the person loaning the money has a security interest.
“The general premise of that security interest and those funds was to adequately protect the state’s interests in the event there would be insurance needs or risk,” Jackley says. “And the state’s position is that the conduct of Mr. Bollen, in ultimately that conversion or disposal of those assets for Egyptian art, TIF bonds, and other types of expenditures was not consistent with his security responsibility under the contract, and under state law.”
The affidavit states that in four out of the five cases where dollars were transferred out, funds were transferred in to replenish the money taken. Each felony charge carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison and or a four thousand dollar fine. Jackley says with these types of lower level felonies, there’s a presumption of probation. He says Bollen is presumed innocent until proven guilty. His next court appearance is in May.
The attorney for Joop Bollen was unavailable for comment.
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