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Minnesota woman sentenced to 4 years in ginseng scam

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota woman has been sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty in an elaborate ginseng farm fraud scheme, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Mai Vang, 51, of Brooklyn Center pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft-by-swindle charges. Vang also must pay restitution of more than $480,000 to the nine victims she defrauded.

Vang had eluded arrest for two years after charges were filed against her in 2017. She was found in Georgia in March and extradited to Minnesota.

Prosecutors said Vang convinced members of Minnesota’s Hmong community to invest in a ginseng farm she claimed to own near Wausau, Wisconsin. One couple who knew Vang from church gave her their life savings.

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