Court Enters Final Judgment in Eb-5 Case Against Immigration Lawyer and His Law Firm; Lawyer Is Barred from Appearing and Practicing Before SEC as an Attorney
Litigation Release No. 24358 / November 20, 2018
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Steve Qi, et al., Civil Action No. 2:17-cv-08856 (Central District of California filed December 8, 2017)
On November 5, 2018, a U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered a final judgment on consent against immigration attorney, Steve Qi, and his law firm, Law Offices of Steve Qi & Associates, who were charged with violations in connection with the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
The SEC’s complaint, filed December 8, 2017, alleged that Qi and his law firm acted as unregistered brokers in connection with sales of EB-5 investments and defrauded their investor clients by not fully disclosing their receipt of transaction-based compensation. After the Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint, the parties engaged in Court-ordered mediation that resulted in resolution of the case by consent.
The final judgment imposes permanent injunctions against Qi and his firm from violating Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The final judgment also orders disgorgement of $1,317,248, representing profits gained as a result of the conduct alleged in the Complaint, together with prejudgment interest thereon in the amount of $180,835, and a civil penalty in the amount of $160,000.
Separately, Qi agreed to the entry of an order permanently suspending him from appearing and practicing before the SEC as an attorney. The order, dated November 9, 2018 (File No. 34-84563), prohibits Qi from representing clients in SEC matters, including investigations, litigation, or examinations, and from advising clients about SEC filing obligations or content.
The litigation was conducted from the SEC’s Home Office by Kenneth Guido, Ashley Dolan, Sarah Hall, and Heather Powell. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.