FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECRM
THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2000(202) 616-2777
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO
ON TODAY'S VERDICT IN THE MARIA HSIA TRIAL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A jury in federal court today convicted Maria Hsia of violating our nation's campaign financing laws. Hsia, a Los Angeles immigration consultant and Democratic National Committee fundraiser, was charged in 1998 with conspiring to defraud the United States and causing false statements to be submitted to the FEC.
Hsia was among 22 people charged by the Campaign Financing Task Force, which was established by Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate allegations of campaign financing abuses in the 1996 election cycle.
In response to the verdict, Attorney General Janet Reno issued the following statement:
- "Today's verdict sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will not tolerate violations of our federal campaign finance laws and that we will vigorously investigate and prosecute such violations.
- "Over the past three years, the Campaign Financing Task Force has demonstrated a true commitment to enforcing our nation's campaign finance laws to protect the integrity of the political process. In that time, we have prosecuted more than 20 individuals, and our investigation continues."
In addition to Hsia, the task force has prosecuted 21 other persons and one corporation for offenses relating to violations of the campaign financing laws.
On January 7, 2000, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Audrey Yu with conspiring with David Chang to keep records from a grand jury, obstructing justice, and tampering with a witness in an investigation into allegations of campaign finance improprieties in New Jersey. Chang was added as a defendant in the Yu superceding indictment.
Both Chang and Yu, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey businesspeople, had been charged in December 1999, with offenses against the grand jury. On December 3, 1999, Yu was charged in a five-count indictment alleging that she gave perjured testimony during her appearance before the grand jury on September 24, 1999. On December 10, 1999, federal authorities filed a criminal complaint against, and arrested, David Chang alleging that he conspired with Yu to obstruct justice.
On December 1, 1999, Carmine Alampi, a Bergen County New Jersey Attorney, entered his guilty plea in United States District Court in Newark, New Jersey, to a one-count information filed by United States Department of Justice's Campaign Financing Task Force alleging his illegal campaign contributions to United States Senator Robert Torricelli's 1996 Campaign. No sentencing date has been scheduled.
On November 1, 1999, Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie, a Little Rock, Arkansas businessman, was sentenced, after pleading guilty to a two-count information filed in Little Rock, Arkansas, to three years probation, four months home detention, 200 hours of community service, and a $5,000 fine for violating federal campaign finance laws by making political contributions in someone else's name and by causing a false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission. Antonio Pan was also indicted with Trie in the District of Columbia, but has not yet been prosecuted because he has remained outside the United States.
On September 15, 1999, Lawrence Penna, the former President of a now-defunct New Jersey securities firm, was charged with violating election laws by funneling illegal campaign contributions to the 1996 federal election campaigns of President Clinton and the Torricelli Campaign. Penna's case was transferred by agreement to the U.S. Attorney's office in New York where charges relating to his violation of United States securities laws were pending.
On August 16, 1999, a federal judge sentenced Robert S. Lee to three years of probation and 250 hours of community service for aiding and abetting the making of an illegal foreign campaign contribution to the Democratic National Committee.
On August 12, 1999, former Lippo Executive John Huang pleaded guilty to a felony charge, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, that he conspired with other employees of the Indonesia-based Lippo Group to make campaign contributions and reimburse employees with corporate funds or with funds from Indonesia. He was sentenced to one year of probation, 500 hours of community service, a $10,000 fine and directed by the judge to continue cooperating with the investigation as a condition of his probation.
In June 1999, Berek Don, former GOP party leader in Bergen County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to the Torricelli Campaign. The Don, Alampi, and Penna cases were also investigated by the FBI's Newark Division. No sentencing date has been scheduled.
In June 1999, Yogesh Gandhi pleaded guilty in San Francisco to mail fraud, tax evasion, and violating federal election laws by aiding and abetting the making of a political campaign contribution by a foreign national. On December 17, 1999, he was sentenced to one year in jail.
On March 23, 1999, Juan C. Ortiz, the Chief Financial Officer of Future Tech International, Inc., was sentenced to two years probation, $20,000 in fines, and 200 hours of community service for acting as a conduit for an illegal campaign contribution and participating in the reimbursement of eight other conduit contributions.
On December 14, 1998, Johnny Chung was sentenced to probation and 3,000 hours of community service for bank fraud, tax evasion and two misdemeanor counts of conspiring to violate election law.
On November 24, 1998, Howard Glicken, a fund-raiser for the Democratic party, was sentenced to 18 months probation, an $80,000 fine, and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service for violating campaign finance laws.
On November 4, 1998, Franklin Haney was indicted on more than 40 counts of conspiring with another to defraud the United States by impairing and impeding the FEC and conspiring to violate specific provisions of federal election law. He was acquitted of all charges on June 30, 1999.
On September 30, 1998, Democratic fund-raiser Mark B. Jimenez was indicted in Washington, D.C. on 17 counts of organizing, making and concealing illegal conduit contributions to a number of Democratic campaigns, including the Torricelli Campaign. In December 1998, Future Tech International, Jimenez' Miami based computer sales company, pleaded guilty to tax offenses resulting from its illegal deduction of a $100,000 contribution to the DNC and employee campaign contributions reimbursed through the company's payroll. On April, 15, 1999, Jimenez, who is now in the Philippines, was indicted in Miami on additional charges of tax evasion and fraud. The task force is pursuing Jimenez' extradition from the Philippines.
On July 13, 1998, DNC fund-raiser Pauline Kanchanalak and her business associate Duangnet "Georgie" Kronenberg were charged with conspiring to impair and impede the FEC, and causing the submission of false statements to the FEC. Trial is scheduled for April 2000. A dismissed portion of the Kanchanalak case is currently on appeal.
In 1997, the Task Force obtained guilty pleas from Democratic fund-raisers Nora and Gene Lum, and their daughter Trisha, and Michael Brown for illegal fund-raising activities after their cases were referred from Independent Counsel Daniel Pearson. In August 1998, Gene Lum pleaded guilty to filing a false 1994 tax return and falsely preparing Nora's 1994 tax return. After cooperating with the government, he was sentenced in June 1999, to two years in prison. Nora was sentenced to five months in a halfway house, five months in home detention, and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine. Trisha Lum and Michael Brown each received probation, a $5,000 fine, costs of more than $7,000, and were ordered to perform 150 hours of community service.