A Bellevue immigration attorney has agreed to pay nearly $280,000 to settle charges that she acted as an unregistered broker when she helped her foreign clients participate in U.S. investments that would get them a permanent resident visas.

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A Bellevue immigration attorney has agreed to pay nearly $280,000 to settle charges that she acted as an unregistered broker when she helped her foreign clients participate in U.S. investments that would get them a permanent resident visas.

Linda Yoo agreed to the settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission without admitting any wrongdoing.

The visas awarded through a program known as EB-5, which was created to spur economic growth, go to individuals who invest $1 million in job-creating U.S. businesses (or half that amount in rural areas or in places with acute joblessness.)

If they don’t have a business plan of their own, moneyed foreigners interested in living in the U.S. can also become partners in investment vehicles offered by so-called “Regional Centers,” firms recognized by U.S. immigration authorities that take care of the task of creating jobs and promoting development.

The SEC, in a March 28 statement announcing the settlement, said Yoo was paid commissions worth $205,000 during a five-year period by at least one of these centers for recommending their investments to her clients. She also helped the clients purchase the investments and acted as a liaison between the investors and the regional centers, which were not identified.

The SEC alleged that she broke the law in making those recommendations and facilitating the investments because she is not a registered broker-dealer. Yoo agreed to pay $278,169 in disgorgement of the commissions, plus interest and civil penalties; she also agreed to a cease-and-desist order against further violations.

Yoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The administrative proceeding coincides with a major local case of alleged fraud related to the EB-5 program. The SEC in August sued real estate developer Lobsang Dargey, alleging he diverted money from Chinese investors interested in getting U.S. permanent residency.