Indictment: Diocese worker ripped off immigrants

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A former employee of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo is being federally prosecuted for allegedly stealing from people who came to her for immigration help.

Monica Karina Mazei (who also goes by Karina Puing) was indicted on a count of wire fraud, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Mazei used to work for the church’s Immigration Assistance Program, where it was her job to help people navigate the immigration system and collect the rates the diocese charges, which includes payment for government application fees.

An investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety found that Mazei told more than 20 of her clients that she had filed their paperwork even though she didn’t. Instead, she pocketed their money — some $7,230 between May 2015 and March 2019, the court documents show.

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