Chinese Billionaire Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Donations Involving New York Politicians

Chinese Billionaire Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Donations Involving New York Politicians

Chinese billionaire Hui Qin has admitted his involvement in a scheme to funnel illegal campaign donations to two New York politicians, including Mayor Eric Adams. Qin, 56, pleaded guilty in Central Islip federal court on Monday to violating election laws by making over $10,000 in straw donations. The New York Times identified Adams as the unnamed Big Apple candidate involved in the scheme. Qin also made donations to a member of the US House of Representatives in New York and a state congressional candidate in Rhode Island.

According to court documents, Qin, a former film mogul who headed the now-defunct entertainment company SMI Culture, agreed to repay individuals who contributed approximately $11,600 to campaign committees on his behalf between December 2021 and December 2022. The federal authorities claim that Qin concealed his scheme from the politicians and candidates he intended to support, leading them to unknowingly file false campaign reports.

Qin donated $2,000 to Adams’ mayoral campaign in March 2021, as per campaign finance records. Nine months later, he sought individuals to make straw donations exceeding $10,000 for a Big Apple candidate. On December 9, 2021, one person donated $1,000 on Qin’s behalf, and the following day, Qin met with a co-conspirator who claimed to secure $20,000 in straw donations for the candidate.

In 2022, Qin donated $2,900 to the campaign of Republican former Cranston mayor Allan Fung, who was running for a seat in Rhode Island’s Congress. Jonathan Chau, who donated $1,000 to Adams’ transition committee, also contributed $5,800 to Fung’s committee and $2,900 to Long Island Representative Andrew Garbarino’s committee.

Qin also admitted to filing a false application for permanent residency status in 2019, where he claimed to have no other aliases. However, prosecutors alleged that he had obtained a Hong Kong ID and passport, as well as a Chinese ID under the name “Muk Lam Li,” which featured his photo but a different birthday. Qin used the Li alias to bring $5 million into the US from China, partly to purchase a luxury apartment in Manhattan. Additionally, he traveled to Florida to obtain a driver’s license, falsely claiming residency in Miami and submitting fabricated bank and credit card statements under the name “Hui Quin.”

Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace stated, “Qin pleaded guilty today to engaging in a brazen web of deception, spreading lies to federal election and immigration authorities and a state agency. Ensuring election integrity and rooting out campaign contribution fraud are priorities of the Department of Justice, including my Office.”

As part of his plea agreement, Qin, who holds a green card, will be deported and relinquish his US residency status. He has been in jail since his arrest on October 2, 2022, for using a fake ID. Qin faces a maximum sentence of 27 years in prison, with his sentencing scheduled for May 14.

Mayor Eric Adams, who is currently under federal investigation for fundraising practices, stated at a City Hall press conference that he had met Qin during his campaign but emphasized that the scheme was carried out without his campaign’s knowledge. Adams expressed the need to remove money from politics.

Representative Andrew Garbarino also claimed no knowledge of Qin’s plot and announced that his campaign would donate the amount received to a local charity in his district. Vito Pitta, an attorney for Adams, reiterated that the campaign had no knowledge of the straw donor scheme and that no campaign member had been charged or accused of any wrongdoing.

It is worth noting that Qin was previously arrested by Nassau police in September for allegedly attempting to attack his wife, who was scheduled to testify in a Manhattan federal civil case. The incident involved Qin allegedly trying to break down a locked door with an ax. Earlier, he had been accused of attempting to strangle his wife. The civil case against Qin involved a Chinese investment group seeking to enforce a $450 million arbitration award he owed them.

Author: CrimeDoor

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