Dem fundraiser sentenced to 24 years

Sept. 30, 2009 at 8:06 AM

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- One-time U.S. Democratic Party fundraiser Norman Hsu must serve more than 24 years in prison for illegally funneling cash to candidates, a judge says.

U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero ruled in New York Tuesday Hsu, a legal immigrant from Hong Kong, must serve a sentence of 292 months after a jury convicted him of illegal political fund-raising and he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of mail and wire fraud stemming from his role in a $20 million Ponzi scheme, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"I know apologizing will not make things better for anyone, but I would still like to apologize to your Honor, and to everyone else," Hsu told Marrero before his sentence was handed down. Prosecutors said Hsu wasn't as cooperative as he could have been, but defense attorney Alan Seidler said he will appeal the sentence because Hsu disputes the amount of cash investors lost in his fraud scheme.

Then-U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2007 returned $850,000 in campaign funds raised through Hsu, the Journal said.

Hsu also was charged with grand theft in 1992, to which he pleaded no contest but fled California before he could be sentenced. He was arrested aboard an Amtrak train when the fundraising allegations came to light, the newspaper said.

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