MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 51-year-old woman has been sentenced to over four years in prison for an elaborate farming fraud scheme that stole nearly half a million dollars from the Minnesota Hmong community, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Mai Vang pleaded guilty to four counts of theft-by-swindle on June 30.

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According to court documents, Vang orchestrated 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.”

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Vang had eluded arrest for two years after Hennepin County charges were filed against her in Dec. 2017. She was found in Georgia in March 2020 and brought back to Minnesota.

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In addition to the prison time, Vang must also pay restitution of more than $480,000 to the nine victims she defrauded.