MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Brooklyn Center woman was arrested in Georgia last month after allegedly eluding the authorities for more than two years.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says 51-year-old Mai Vu Vang was brought back to Minneapolis over the weekend; she faces six counts of theft by swindle for a scam that allegedly stole nearly half a million dollars from the Minnesota Hmong community.
Court documents say Vang left for Georgia while an investigation by the Fridley Police Department and Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau was still active. In June 2017 she was charged in Clark County with false reporting of a crime and obstruction of law enforcement officers. The Hennepin County attorney filed the theft by swindle charges by warrant in December 2017.
The authorities then asked local police officers in Georgia to contact Vang at her suspected address, but the officers say they were unable to. Vang was ultimately taken into custody during a traffic stop and held on the Clark County charges.
Charges in Hennepin County accuse her of orchestrating a fraud scheme — by convincing people to invest in a ginseng farm she claimed to own near Wausau, Wisconsin. Nine victims lost a total of more than $450,000, according to investigators. They say one couple who new Vang from church “gave her their life savings.”
At the same time, according to investigators Mystic Lake Casino records show that Vang spent more than one million dollars at the casino between 2012 and 2014. Investigators say “her buy-in increased each year as she took money from the victims,” from less than $75,000 in 2012 to nearly $665,000 in 2014.
Vang was scheduled to make her first court appearance on Monday, where prosecutors are moving to set bail at $500,000.