California Woman Indicted for Embezzling More Than $1 Million from Employer

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

MINNEAPOLIS – A federal grand jury returned an indictment against a California woman for wire fraud, identity theft, and filing false tax returns after embezzling more than $1 million from her employer, announced U.S. 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 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 is charged with five counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, four counts of making and subscribing a false return, and one count of failure to file an individual return. She was arrested on September 22, 2022, and made her initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California.

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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison K. Ethen is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.