Federal Jury Finds Three Defendants Guilty in $300 Million Nationwide Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Targeting the Elderly
MINNEAPOLIS – A California woman was sentenced to 66 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1,791,334.81 in restitution for embezzling more than $1 million from her employer, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, Mai Houa Xiong, 47, of Fresno, California, was employed as a financial manager for a Minneapolis-based property management company that provided financial services to homeowners’ associations (HOAs) throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Xiong’s duties included bookkeeping, and as manager she had nearly unfettered access to the victim homeowner’s associations’ financials, bank accounts, vendor and contractor payments, and bookkeeping systems. Between February 2015 and February 2022, Xiong devised and executed a fraud scheme to embezzle funds directly from the accounts to which she had access. These funds were HOA fees collected from residents intended to pay for maintenance, construction, and other costs incurred by the victim associations.
As part of the scheme, Xiong repeatedly accessed the HOAs’ bank accounts and conducted electronic transfers of funds directly into her personal bank accounts. Xiong disguised these transfers by mis-labeling them to make it appear as if they were legitimate HOA expenses. Xiong also used her authority as a signatory to make cash withdrawals directly from the HOAs’ accounts, including making withdrawals after she was fired from her position in July 2021. After her termination, Xiong began collecting Unemployment Insurance (UI) funds. However, even after Xiong found new employment, she continued to wrongfully obtain public UI benefits.
Xiong pleaded guilty on March 9, 2023, to one count of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of making and subscribing a false tax return. Xiong was sentenced today before Chief Judge Patrick J. Schiltz.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the IRS – Criminal Investigations, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the Minneapolis Police Department.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison K. Ethen.