Ex-Kalamazoo diocese worker accused of defrauding immigrants

The Associated Press

Kalamazoo – A former Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo employee has been indicted on a federal wire fraud charge after allegedly defrauding immigrants she was supposed to be assisting.

Federal prosecutors contend that Monica Karina Mazei engaged in a scheme between 2015 and this year while assigned to help people apply for visas, work permits, permanent resident status and citizenship.

Prosecutors say she requested blank checks or money orders from her clients, wrote “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” in the payee line of the documents that she used as receipts, then wrote her own name on the checks and cashed them.

The diocese said in a statement Thursday that the employee was fired when officials learned of the potential fraud earlier this year.

Mazei did not return a call left on her phone.