Caffe Primo investor, charged with EB-5 fraud, scraps LA expansion plans

He pocketed roughly $10M from foreign investors

Los Angeles /
Aug.August 01, 2017 02:30 PM

Fans of the local food chain Caffe Primo have been fed a lot of false promises — and, allegedly, so were its EB-5 investors.

The company abandoned plans last week to open at the base of a mixed-use building at 702 Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica, years after first putting up signage that indicated the contrary, Eater reported. It is one of several promised expansions that never came to be while almost $10 million from foreign investors allegedly went directly into the pockets of Emilio Francisco, who raised EB-5 money for the Primo locations under his Costa Mesa consulting firm, PDC Capital Group.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil fraud suit against Francisco, a Newport Beach-based lawyer, late last year. The suit alleges he abused the EB-5 program, misspending at least $9.5 million from 131 investors while failing to open the projects that fit the program’s requirements for job creation.

Instead of opening the new Primo locations he had promised investors, Francisco spent the funds on items such as a yacht, a yacht club membership, and his family members’ credit cards, the suit alleges.

Though Caffe Primo closed one of its shops on Sunset Boulevard after a judge froze Francisco’s assets earlier this year, its locations in Downtown Los Angeles and West Hollywood are still open for business, according to Eater. [ELA] – Naiwen Tian


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Standard Communities’ Chris Cruz and 10930 Garfield Avenue
Standard Communities pays $532K per unit for newly developed South Gate apartments
Standard Communities pays $532K per unit for newly developed South Gate apartments
7000 Romaine Street and 948 Sycamore Avenue (Google Maps)
Onni Group wants to add 14-story office in Hollywood
Onni Group wants to add 14-story office in Hollywood
Vella's Zach Vella and SWRCC's Dan Langford with 1010 Sandhill Avenue (Vella Group, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, LoopNet)
Carpenters union buys Carson industrial from Zach Vella
Carpenters union buys Carson industrial from Zach Vella
TCW's David Lippman with and the City National Plaza at 515 S. Flower Street (David Lippman, City National Plaza)
TCW inks largest pandemic-era office lease in DTLA
TCW inks largest pandemic-era office lease in DTLA
eBay's Jamie Iannone with 455 North Fairfax Avenue (eBay, Google Maps)
eBay goes brick and mortar on popup for sneakerheads
eBay goes brick and mortar on popup for sneakerheads
Jeff Blau with 1755 Argyle St (LinkedIn, Commercial Observer)
Related Companies to sell Argyle House in Hollywood
Related Companies to sell Argyle House in Hollywood
Frank Gehry and the Ocean Avenue Project (Getty, Ocean Avenue Project, iStock)
Frank Gehry’s long-awaited Santa Monica project takes big step forward
Frank Gehry’s long-awaited Santa Monica project takes big step forward
Duke Realty's James Connor and 14724 Proctor Avenue in City of Industry (Google Maps, Duke Realty)
Duke Realty gets another 230K sf in City of Industry
Duke Realty gets another 230K sf in City of Industry
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...