A jury found the 26-year-old former campaign treasurer for City Comptroller John Liu's mayoral campaign, as well as a one of Liu's fundraisers, guilty of today.
The NY Times reports that Xing Wu Pan "was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempted wire fraud," while Jia "Jenny" Hou "was acquitted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but was convicted of lying to federal agents and failing to fully respond to a grand jury subpoena that sought e-mails and other documents in what prosecutors said was an effort to cover-up her role in the scheme."
Donations to candidates from individuals are limited to $4,950 each. Pan was charged with trying to mask large donations by way of enlisting people to pose as donors. Hou was also accused of trying to hide larger donations and an ex-boyfriend testified saying she offered to reimburse him $500.
An undercover FBI agent, who posed as the donor of $16,000 to Liu's campaign, testified and had video of Liu thanking him for his donation.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, "As the jury found, Jia Hou and Oliver Pan stuck a knife into the heart of New York City's campaign finance law by violating the prohibition against illegal campaign contributions, all to corruptly advantage the campaign of a candidate for city-wide office." The pair's lawyers still insist their innocence.
Liu himself has not been charged with any wrongdoing. A few months ago, he had a strong statement for federal prosecutors during a mayoral forum, "Three years of investigating. They wiretapped my phones for 18 months. They reviewed a million documents and messages. They interrogated thousands of my supporters. And yet, what do they have to show for it? It’s time to put up or shut up already. Because I have an election to win!”