John Liu’s former aides sentenced
The straw donor scheme that derailed mayoral candidate John Liu’s campaign now ends with his two former aides being sent to jail.
Jia “Jenny” Hou, 27, Liu’s former campaign treasurer, received a 10-month sentence on Thursday. Xingwu “Oliver” Pan, 47, a fundraiser for Liu, was sentenced to four months in jail.
In May, Hou was acquitted of conspiracy but convicted of attempting wire fraud, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents.
Pan was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempted wire fraud.
Hou maintained her innocence and wept in court on Thursday, The New York Daily News reports. She said she did not realize that fake donations were being funneled into the campaign.
Both defendants plan to appeal their convictions.
Hou was arrested in 2012 and Pan was arrested in 2011. They were accused of scheming to use straw donors to raise money and obtain matching funds from the city.
Liu was never charged, though the scandal raised questions about how much he knew about the scheme.
“For reasons I may never fully understand, the U.S. Attorney’s Office set out to destroy me with what has been described as an extraordinarily intrusive and exhaustive investigation,” he said in a statement.
“Failing to find that I had done anything wrong, they proceeded to set up a weak man and a wonderful young woman. Jenny Hou does not deserve this ordeal and injustice she has been put through. I am very sad but even more angry at what has occurred,” he said.
Judge Richard Sullivan said he believes it is a “tragic day” and that he believes the defendants are good people.
“But this was really more about undermining the electoral process,” he said.