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Man accused of fraud scheme that promised Hmong homeland

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Attorney’s office in Minnesota has charged a man with operating a fraud scheme that targeted Hmong elders by promising them a homeland in southeast Asia.

Forty-eight-year-old Seng Xiong faces one count of wire fraud. Federal prosecutors accuse Xiong of stealing more than $1.3 million from elderly Hmong victims.

Xiong was arrested last week at Los Angeles International Airport before he could board a flight for Thailand.

According to court documents, the police department in Appleton, Wisconsin, received a tip in September that Hmong elders were being directed to deposit $3,000 to $5,000 into a bank account held in Xiong’s name. In exchange, elders were promised 10 acres of land and a house in the future country.

A U.S. magistrate judge in Los Angeles denied bail for Xiong. His next court date is not set yet.

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