A man who spearheaded South Dakota’s efforts to attract international investors to the state faces felony charges. Joop Bollen is accused of disposing of personal property subject to security interest.
The federal EB5 program offers visas to people from other countries in exchange for $500,000 investments in American businesses. Bollen ran the effort at the International Business Institute at Northern State University in Aberdeen. Then in 2009 the program switched to private administration through Bollen’s company, SDRC, Inc.
Now Attorney General Marty Jackley says Bollen is set to appear in court.
"As Attorney General, I have filed felony criminal charges in relation to the EB5 and SD Regional Center matter. These are initial criminal charges, and Mr. Bollen is cooperating and is presumed innocent until he’s been proven guilty," Jackley says.
Bollen submitted written answers to lawmakers’ questions about his work during the 2015 legislative session. He denied any wrongdoing and touted the benefits EB5 brought to the state.
Some investors have filed suit against the state and key players related to a failed beef plant in Aberdeen.
Attorney General Marty Jackley says Joop Bollen’s initial court appearance happens Friday at 9:30 a.m. in Brown County.
Governor Dennis Daugaard says he appreciates the Attorney General's investigation. “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but the state continues to pursue this matter in civil and criminal court," Daugaard says.