Joop Bollen set to change plea in EB-5 visa case in SD
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The former administrator of South Dakota's scandal-ridden investment-for-visa program is scheduled to appear in court this week for a change-of-plea hearing in a financial misconduct case.
Attorney General Marty Jackley said that Joop Bollen is scheduled to appear at the hearing Wednesday at the Brown County Courthouse. An attorney for Bollen declined to comment to The Associated Press.
Bollen previously pleaded innocent to felony charges that accuse him of diverting more than $1.2 million from an account created as part of a contract with the state to protect it against costs or liability from South Dakota's EB-5 visa program. Authorities say he put back most of the money.
A February trial has been scheduled in the case. A defense attorney for Bollen said previously that the state was trying to make his client a scapegoat by bringing the charges against him.
The federal EB-5 visa program allows people to seek U.S. residency if they invest at least $500,000 in approved projects. Bollen first led South Dakota's participation in the program as a state employee and later as the head ofSDRC Inc., a private company he founded. The program was privatized in 2009 and turned over to SDRC until the state took over management in 2013.