John Liu Supporters Ran Straw-Donor Fraud, U.S. Says

Two supporters of New York comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu engaged in a conspiracy to send thousands of dollars in illegal contributions to his campaign using straw donors, a prosecutor told jurors.

Jia “Jenny” Hou, 26, Liu’s former campaign treasurer, and Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, 47, a fundraiser, both recruited people to pose as donors, concealed their identities on filings to the City’s Campaign Finance Board and conspired to get matching funds provided by the city, Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Anderson told the jury today in closing arguments in Manhattan federal court.

Anderson showed evidence including e-mails, instant-message chat sessions and conversations secretly recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to show the two defendants knew they were breaking the law.

“For the past two weeks you have learned about a corrupt scheme to undermine an election, cheat the city,” Anderson said. “The defendants, Oliver Pan and Jenny Hou, played critical roles in that scheme.”

Liu, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor, hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

20 Years

Both Pan and Hou have denied wrongdoing and their lawyers are scheduled to deliver closing arguments after Anderson finishes. The defendants are charged with conspiracy and attempted wire fraud and face as long as 20 years in prison if convicted of either charge.

Hou also faces a count of obstructing the government’s investigation by failing to produce documents sought by the federal grand jury investigating the campaign.

The case is U.S. v. Pan, 1:12-cr-00153, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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