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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud

CONTACT:  Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX #:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Emmanuel Bao, 52, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to mail fraud, before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Cantil, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant is a French and Swahili interpreter. Bao interpreted the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles driver permit written test for multiple out-of-state individuals, usually individuals with refugee status who were most recently from the Massachusetts area.

The defendant created a scheme to defraud New York State by not interpreting the written tests. Rather, Bao provided answers to the questions for the applicants. The defendant then listed his own address on the permit application rather than the address of the applicant, which resulted in the Department of Motor Vehicles mailing the official driver’s permit to Bao’s address. The defendant would then mail the permit to the applicant’s actual address. Massachusetts has reciprocity with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and multiple test takers had failed the Massachusetts written driver’s permit test before making arrangements with the defendant.          

The plea is the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly, and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, under the direction of Executive Deputy Commissioner Theresa Egan. 

Sentencing is scheduled for July 6, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

Updated March 23, 2018