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
Renderings of The Star
The Star, a $500M office tower project, looks to light up Hollywood
The Star, a $500M office tower project, looks to light up Hollywood
The Boyd Street fire in May, 2020 (Getty)
LA fire captain sues building, vape shop owners over May 2020 explosion in downtown
LA fire captain sues building, vape shop owners over May 2020 explosion in downtown
(Getty Images)
SoCal’s “Space Beach” is ready for liftoff
SoCal’s “Space Beach” is ready for liftoff
Clockwise from top left: Kilroy Realty CEO John Kilroy, Boston Properties CEO Owen Thomas, TMG Partners CEO Michael Covarrubius and Eastdil Secured CEO Michael Van Konynenburg (Kilroy, LinkedIn via Thomas, TMG Partners, LinkedIn via Van Konynenburg, Getty)
“We gotta get people back to the office”: West Coast landlord execs press for return
“We gotta get people back to the office”: West Coast landlord execs press for return
Oxford Properties CEO Michael Turner and the campus (Oxford)
Oxford moves into LA with $134M industrial buy
Oxford moves into LA with $134M industrial buy
Post-production campus in Burbank sells for $37M
Post-production campus in Burbank sells for $37M
Post-production campus in Burbank sells for $37M
G6 Hospitality CEO Rob Palleschi and Motel 6 San Jose South, one of the largest assets in the portfolio (G6)
Blackstone’s Motel 6 portfolio gets $685M CMBS loan
Blackstone’s Motel 6 portfolio gets $685M CMBS loan
Sares-Regis Group CEO Rob Wagner and Huntington Gateway
Sares Regis inks tenant for 434K sf unfinished Orange County site
Sares Regis inks tenant for 434K sf unfinished Orange County site
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...