$150 Million Class Settlement: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program case
Attorney Roberto Villasante, founder of the Law Offices of Roberto Villasante, filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, FL (Complex Business Litigation Section) on behalf of eight foreign investors in an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
The EB-5 Program provides a vehicle through which foreign investors can invest in certain types of qualified United States companies, earn a return on their investment, and ultimately obtain their permanent residency (green cards). To qualify for an EB-5 visa, a foreign applicant must invest $500,000, of which all the plaintiffs in the case did in a Jay Peak Limited Partnership project, or $1 million in a new commercial enterprise approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Once the applicant has invested, he or she may apply for a conditional green card, which is valid for two years. According to court documents, the Jay Peak project sold securities under the EB-5 Program to the plaintiffs.
Court filings by Mr. Villasante allege that the defendants in the case made an agreement between and among themselves for the commission of alleged unlawful acts pertaining to the plaintiffs’ investment, including, without limitation, the collection and deposit of their EB-5 investment into People’s United Bank; the establishment of an account at Raymond James (defendant) by the plaintiffs; the transfer of their EB-5 investment by William Stenger (defendant) to the Raymond James account created by plaintiffs; the facilitation of the use of their EB-5 investment into treasury bills and security for margin accounts by Raymond James; and the illegal and improper diversion and conversion of the plaintiffs’ EB-5 investment for the personal benefit and financial gain of the defendants.
On behalf of his clients, Mr. Villasante also alleged that the defendants jointly conceived, planned, carried out, and otherwise effectuated their agreement through overt acts, including, without limitation, commission of affirmative acts of fraud, theft, breach of fiduciary duty and other misconduct, all in furtherance of the unlawful agreement. As a direct and proximate result of the alleged conspiracy and effectuation of the illegal agreement, according Mr. Villasante’s clients, the plaintiffs, suffered damages, including but not limited to the loss of the monies they invested in the Jay Peak Limited Partnership, to-wit, $500,000 plus a $50,000 administrative fee.
A concurrent Class Action in Federal Court resulted in a settlement that included Mr. Villasante’s eight State Court Plaintiffs in a total sum for all class members of $125 million dollars.
Roberto Villasante has been an attorney in Florida for more than 35 years, dedicating the majority of his practice to the trial of complex civil disputes including in aviation, telecommunications, international business matters and products liability. For more information, please call (305) 373-6548. The law office is located at 4000 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Suite 470, Coral Gables, FL 33146
Copyright Owners Dispute Over Counterfeited Product in South Korea
A South Florida-based company faced a struggle for justice after their copyrighted breast-enhancing product is illegally reproduced and sold in the South Korean market. Brava, LLC, a corporation with the exclusive rights to patent, manufacture, market and distribute their Brava Breast Enhancement and Shaping System, fell victim to a copyright infringement scheme when a South Korean partner breached its distributor agreement and began reproducing inferior devices and selling them independently in South Korea.
The device, with cosmetic and medical applications, was developed in Miami, Florida by a medical team at Brava, LLC. The corporation hired attorney Roberto Villasante to bring suit against the Korean counterfeiter Chun Sup Kim and the corporate entity INSOP. Mr. Villasante engaged South Korea’s second largest law firm to collaborate in this litigation.
In a related criminal proceeding Mr. Kim has now been found guilty of counterfeiting the Brava device which was first released in the Korean market in 2001. The products consist of a set of silicone-domes held in place over the breasts, a ‘SmartBox’, which creates vacuum pressure within the domes, a support bra, which helps the user to wear the products, a tube connecting the domes to the SmartBox, a filter which removes moisture, and a cleaning kit. For the device and all its parts, the trademark “BRAVA” was registered on August 9, 2004.
Defendant Kim established his own company on June 27, 2003 and entered into a distributor agreement with Brava, LLC in October of 2005. Under this agreement, Brava, LLC granted Kim’s company an exclusive license to distribute and market the devices in Korea. However, relations turned sour after Kim planned to use reverse-design (reverse-engineered) data off the devices to sell the copied products to consumers as if they were imported from Brava, LLC–a move that breached the distributor agreement and arguably violated the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in South Korea.
Brava, LLC representatives became aware of the copied products being sold in the Korean market. Brava demanded Kim to cease all sales of unauthorized counterfeited products and stop the use of the Brava trademark; effectively terminating the existing distributor agreement. Subsequently, Kim was indicted in Seoul for failing to obtain a license to sell his independently manufactured product in South Korea.
Brava has argued that Kim sold thousands of counterfeited devices in his country, costing Brava, LLC millions in revenue.
The Seoul Central District Court issued a monetary judgment in favor of Brava, LLC awarding compensatory damages. The matter was taken to the appellate courts and later settled for an undisclosed sum.
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