By Ling-Mei Wong
The owner of a Chinatown travel agency has been indicted for stealing more than $89,000 from clients for U.S. citizenship applications and airline tickets.
May Woo Lei, 40, of Boston, operated Sky Energy Travel. She allegedly took money from people to buy air tickets or gain U.S. citizenship, but failed to deliver those services, said the state attorney general’s office.
Woo is charged with 20 counts of larceny over $250.
The Chinese Progressive Association, a Boston advocacy group, referred complaints to the attorney general’s office.
The authorities began investigating Woo in June 2012.
“We allege that this defendant took advantage of people seeking help to gain U.S. citizenship or buy tickets for travel,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “Through today’s action, we are holding this defendant criminally responsible for alleged schemes that affected many people.”
Woo approached Chinese clients with promises to help them apply for U.S. citizenship. Despite the fact that they did not meet the English language requirement, Woo assured clients that, for a fee, she would arrange for a doctor to waive the English requirement.
None of the clients received notification from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that their applications had been received. USCIS verified that no applications were filed in the name of the victims. At least 16 victims were defrauded of nearly $50,000, according to the authorities.
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