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Buffalo man charged with mail fraud


BUFFALO -- Fifty-year-old Emmanuel R. Bao of Buffalo was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian J. Counihan, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendant is a French and Swahili interpreter. Bao interpreted the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles driver permit written test for multiple out-of-state individuals, usually individuals with refugee status who are most recently from the Massachusetts area.

The defendant is accused of creating a scheme to defraud New York State by not interpreting the written tests. Rather, Bao provided answers to the questions for the applicants. The defendant then listed his own address on the permit application rather than the address of the applicant, which resulted in the Department of Motor Vehicles mailing the official driver’s permit to Bao’s address. The defendant would then mail the permit to the applicant’s actual address. Massachusetts has reciprocity with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and multiple test takers had failed the Massachusetts written driver’s permit test before making arrangements with the defendant.        

The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer, and was released.