WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged a California lawyer on Tuesday with defrauding people who signed up for an immigrant investor program aimed at creating jobs for Americans.

Emilio Francisco raised $72 million from investors in China, the SEC said in a statement. He and his marketing firm, PDC Capital, "diverted investor funds from one project to another and outright stole at least $9.6 million that was used to finance Francisco’s own businesses and luxury lifestyle," it said.

The EB-5 immigrant investor program allows foreigners to apply to permanently live and work in the states by investing money in certain projects that create U.S. jobs, it said.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Gregorio)


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