AP NEWS

Defendant in Vermont ski fraud case wants passport back

November 15, 2019 GMT

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The former president of Jay Peak Ski Resort, accused in a multimillion-dollar fraud case in northern Vermont, has asked for his passport back.

In court papers filed Wednesday, a lawyer for William Stenger states that Stenger needs his passport so he can travel internationally for work.

Stenger; former Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros, a Miami businessman; William Kelly, an adviser to Quiros; and Jong Weon Choi, a South Korean businessman, are facing federal fraud charges over a failed plan to build a biotechnology plant in Newport using foreign investors’ money.

Quiros, Stenger and Kelly pleaded not guilty in May to engaging in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud; participating in that conspiracy; wire fraud; and concealing facts about the plant’s investor funds. Quiros also pleaded not guilty to money laundering.

The three were released on $100,000 bond each and had to turn in their passports as a condition.

Stenger’s lawyer wrote in the motion to regain his passport that Stenger lost his job and that his only income is Social Security.

“Given this, Defendant is currently pursuing consulting opportunities — an area he is experienced in — in an effort to gain income to financially support his wife and himself,” lawyer Brooks McArthur wrote. “In pursuing these consulting opportunities, Defendant is finding that travel outside of the United States is a main requirement.”

It’s unclear when the federal court will respond to the passport request.

On Friday, federal prosecutors filed a motion opposing Quiros’ request to move the trial outside of Vermont. Stenger and Kelly had asked to join Quiros’ motion for a change of venue.

Quiros and Stenger were accused in 2016 of misusing more than $200 million raised from foreign investors for various developments. They have reached settlements with the state and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and admitted no wrongdoing.

The trial is set for fall 2020.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that three, not four, defendants have pleaded not guilty.