SEATTLE (AP) – A Bellevue developer suspected of bilking more than 250 Chinese investors out of millions of dollars on two real estate projects has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Lobsang Dargey entered the pleas to two fraud-related counts in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, one day after being charged.

The 43-year-old exploited a federal visa program to defraud investors by claiming their involvement in his projects, a farmer’s market in Everett and the “Potala Tower” in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, would help secure their residency in the U.S.

Dargey was accused of using the scam to raise more than $125 million. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to pay restitution totaling more than $24 million. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in April.

In 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit and won a court order freezing his assets.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.


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