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Chinese billionaire admits to making illegal straw donations to several political campaigns
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Chinese billionaire admits to making illegal straw donations to several political campaigns

A Chinese billionaire pleaded guilty on Monday to an illegal straw donation scheme, according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of New York.

Hui Qin, a Chinese national who operated a Hong Kong-based entertainment company, admitted to making roughly $11,600 in straw donations to political campaigns in New York and Rhode Island, according to the Department of Justice.

"As set forth in court filings and facts presented at the plea proceeding, between December 2021 and December 2022, Qin agreed to reimburse other individuals who made contributions on his behalf to the campaign committees for a candidate for a New York City-wide political office, a member of the United States House of Representatives for a congressional district in the Eastern District of New York and candidate for a House of Representatives seat in a Rhode Island congressional district," the press release read.

It claimed that the political campaigns Qin donated to were unaware of his illegal activities. As a result, the campaign committees "unwittingly file[d] false contribution reports with the Federal Election Commission in 2022."

As part of his plea agreement, Qin admitted to submitting false information when applying for a green card in the United States in April 2019.

"In the application, Qin falsely swore, under penalty of perjury, that he had never used another name. In fact, in 2008, a [People's Republic of China] government official provided Qin with the alias 'Muk Lam Li' and between 2008 and the filing of Qin's LPR application, Qin obtained identification documents, including a Hong Kong identification card, a PRC identification card and a Hong Kong passport in the name of the Li alias, which contained Qin's photograph, but a date of birth different than Qin's," the department reported.

The 56-year-old businessman also pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining a Florida driver's license while he was a New York resident. Qin submitted "fake bank and credit card statements" that contained a "false Miami address."

"As part of his plea agreement, Qin agreed to abandon his status as a Lawful Permanent Resident ('LPR') of the United States and to be removed to a country outside of the United States. When sentenced, Qin faces up to 27 years' imprisonment. Qin has been incarcerated since his arrest on October 2, 2023," the DOJ reported.

If Qin abides by the plea agreement's terms, prosecutors will ask the judge for a maximum six-month sentence. After serving jail time, Qin will be forced to leave the country.

Henry Mazurek, Qin's lawyer, told the Times, "Mr. Qin is happy to have this case behind him and looks forward to re-establishing his business career outside the United States."

A source familiar with the case told the New York Times that Qin donated to New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), and former Rhode Island Mayor Allan Fung (R). The Times noted Qin concealed his illegal donations from the political campaigns.

Fung and Garbarino did not respond to the Times' request for comment.

Vito Pitta, Adams' lawyer for his 2021 mayoral campaign, told the news outlet, "As the federal government made clear today, the campaign had no knowledge of a straw donor scheme — and no member of the campaign has been charged with or accused of any wrongdoing."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating the Adams' campaign for allegedly receiving illegal foreign donations from the government of Turkey, the Times reported in November. As a result of the probe, law enforcement agents raided the home of Adams' top fundraiser, Brianna Suggs. Adams insisted that he was "not familiar" with the company that allegedly illegally donated the funds.

Earlier this month, the FBI also searched the homes of Winnie Greco, Adams' director of Asian affairs and former fundraiser. While the reason for the raid was unclear, it is reportedly not connected with the investigation into foreign donations, a source told the Associated Press. Greco was accused of using her government position for personal benefit. A spokesperson for Adams denied the allegations.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →