Mercedes Schneider writes here about an outrageous financial scam in Wisconsin and Minnesota that was inflicted on members of the Hmong community.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against a Hmong woman who had made extravagant promises to investors, then defrauded them.

On April 13, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against Wisconsin resident, Kay Yang, for “conduct[ing] a fraudulent investment scheme targeting members of the Hmong-American communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

Schneider goes into the details, and she points out that the same financial advisor counseled a Hmong charter school to invest the school’s endowment in a risky fund. Unfortunately, they took her advice, although the school leaders violated Minnesota law by making a risky investment with the school’s funds.

There is another twist in Yang’s story, one that the April 13, 2022, Twin Cities Pioneer Press captures as it alludes to Yang as “having ties to a St. Paul (MN) charter school board”:

Kay Yang has been described in a separate legal matter as a “close personal friend” of Christianna Hang, founder and former superintendent of Hmong College Prep Academy, one of Minnesota’s largest charter schools.

Hang was looking to invest some of the school’s money in May 2019 when Yang referred her to Woodstock Capital LLC, a hedge fund based in London.

That fall, Hang wired Woodstock $5 million in school funds, in violation of state statutes that limit what schools may invest in. Eighteen months later, just $700,000 remained.

The school now is suing Woodstock, alleging its investment either was stolen or badly mismanaged.

Woodstock called the loss a matter of bad timing, saying the coronavirus pandemic made it “possibly the worst time in recent world history for investments such as those made by hedge funds in general.”

Hang and her husband, chief operating officer Pao Yang, resigned from the school at the end of last year with a combined $350,000 in separation payments.

No criminal or civil enforcement charges have been filed in the charter school matter.

The school gambled away its $5 million

Wow.

Through her foolishness, Hang lost $4.3Mof the $5M of HCPA’s money.