Former Liu campaign treasurer and fundraiser sentenced for fraud convictions

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New York, NEW YORK—Jenny Hou and Oliver Pan, members of New York City Comptroller John Liu’s former mayoral campaign, were found guilty Oct. 10 for committing financial fraud during the campaign.  Hou, Liu’s former treasurer, received 10 months in prison, and Pan, Liu’s former fundraiser, received four, according to New York Daily News. Hou was convicted of “attempted wire fraud, obstructing justice and making false statements" in May 2013. Pan was convicted of “conspiracy and attempted wire fraud,” The Huffington Post reported.

Photo by Aaron Showalter For New York Daily News

According to New York Daily News, in Nov. 2011 an undercover FBI operation exposed Pan for utilizing straw donors.  Soon after, in the beginning of 2012, Hou was arrested for her involvement.

Hou was accused of “discussing ways to circumvent the city’s campaign finance laws in numerous e-mail and instant messages,” according to The New York Times. Prosecutors said straw donors were promised reimbursement by a donor who planned to exceed the legal limit of $4,950 for individual donations.

Hou asked a potential benefactor in July for a $500 donation and promised to reimburse them later on.

Hou claimed that “she didn't have the life experience to realize fake donations were being funneled to Liu's mayoral campaign,” NY1 wrote. Both Hou and Pan plan to appeal.

Pan apologized for “betray[ing] the trust of [his] friends and family members who did favors for [him] by filling out the straw donor forms,” reported the New York Daily News.

The judge said that “such activity shakes the public's confidence in elections and ‘makes people shrug and say the system is corrupt,” reported The Huffington Post.

Photo by Mary Altaffer for the Associated Press, published in Huffington Post.

King’s student Mark Gonska (’16) laments that "'American politician' isn’t synonymous with 'role-model.'"

“Long gone are the days when Americans could put full faith in our elected officials," Gonska said. "We have become painfully aware of the lack of morals that politicians repeatedly display. Political scandals abound."

Adam Schwartz (‘15) questions the law limiting donations in the first place.  While he understands a need to prevent outright vote-buying, he still asks “why is the government putting a cap on generosity?”

There is no official word yet on when the appeal process will begin.

CityKyle Trivanovich