Brooklyn Center woman charged in fake ginseng farm scam arrested in Georgia
A Brooklyn Center woman who was charged in 2017 in connection to a scam involving a fake ginseng farm was arrested in Georgia, according to a news release from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
The release said Mai Vu Vang was arrested in Georgia last month and was brought back to the Twin Cities over the weekend.
According to the criminal complaint, Vang told people in the Hmong community — some of them she knew through her church — that she was looking for investors in a ginseng farm in Wausau, Wisconsin.
She offered shares of $3,500 to $4,000 per acre, and buyers believed their investments would be worth $75,000 per acre.
Victims told authorities they believed they were buying the land, while others believed they were buying the crop.
Vang would insist on cash payments, and some investors had receipts. The investments ranged from $2,000 to $178,0000 in cash.
Investigators also found Vang would tell people she was going through a divorce, had cancer or was going on a trip to Jerusalem.
Investigators began looking into the case and called the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin and discovered the state had no record of Vang owning a farm in the state.
However, when investigators tracked Vang's casino and horse racing track records, they noticed a spike in transactions.
Prior to seeking out fraudulent investments, Vang's buy-in at Mystic Lake Casino was around $1,000. However, in 2012 her buy-in was $74,710. The following year it was $262,527. And in 2014, it was $664,680.
In October 2014, Vang also spent $27,1300 at Running Aces Harness Park.