At sentencing, Chinese entrepreneur from Old Westbury is ordered removed from U.S.

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At a sentencing in federal court in Central Islip Thursday, a Chinese business owner who had residences in Old Westbury and Manhattan, was ordered removed from the United States, having already pled guilty in connection to illegal straw donations and other fraud schemes, officials said.

Hui Qin, who had pleaded guilty in March, was granted time seved at the sentencing. The scheme had included making political contributions in the names of others, immigration fraud and producing a false identification document, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.

Previously on Forbes Magazine’s List of Billionaires, Qin had operated SMI Culture, a Hong Kong-based entertainment firm, with plans, according to Newsday, to bring the movie theatre company public. Those plans, and subsequently Qin’s wealth fell apart during the pandemic, and the campaign contributions had been an effort to get the attention of his ex-wife, who was active in political circles, Newsday reported.

As part of his plea back in March, Qin had consented to abandonment of what officials said was his fraudulently obtained legal permanent resident status and removal from the U.S. immediately after the sentencing. Qin has been incarcerated since his arrest in October.

“Qin’s brazen flouting of our political and immigration systems, and his defrauding government agencies resulted in a felony conviction, prison sentence and today, his removal from the United States,” U.S. States Attorney Breon Peace said in a news release about Qin’s sentencing.

“Hui Qin violated our democratic norms by illegally attempting to influence election campaigns through fraudulent political donations,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith said in the news release. “His unlawful actions and repeated efforts to exploit various government agencies were disrupted by the FBI and such attempts by other threat actors will not be tolerated.”

Qin’s lawyer, Henry Mazurek, said Qin got on a plane to leave the country later in the day. He declined to say where Qin was going. He said his client looked forward to rebuilding his life.

“I have no doubts that he will soon regain prominence in international business, and he has a good future ahead of him,” Mazurek said in a phone interview. “And it is unfortunate that the U.S. government decides that he will have to build that career someplace else, because he has always been a philanthropist, a legitimate businessman who has done a lot of good here in Long Island and New York.”

Mazurek said Qin “just wanted to participate as a citizen could” in elections, but was not able to contribute to candidates he supported because he was not a citizen. He said the campaigns did not know about the straw donors scheme.

Officials say that between December 2021 and December 2022, Qin agreed to reimburse those who made contributions on his behalf to the campaign committees for three candidates. Donations had been made to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, U.S. Rep Andrew Garbarino, a former Congressional candidate from Rhode Island, Allan Fung, according to published reports.

During that time frame, without the knowledge of the campaign committees, straw donors made approximately $11,600 in contributions on Qin’s behalf, which caused the campaign committees to unwittingly file false contribution reports with the Federal Election Commission in 2022, officials said.

Additionally, as part of his plea, Qin admitted that, in April 2019, he filed a false application for LPR status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In the application, Qin had sworn, under penalty of perjury, that he had never used another name. But officials say that in 2008, a government official People’s Republic of China government official provided Qin with the alias “Muk Lam Li.” IN 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. Around September 2017, Qin used the Li alias to transfer more than $5 million from the PRC to a United States bank account, a portion of which was used to purchase a luxury Manhattan apartment where Qin resided, according to officials.

Qin also pleaded guilty to engaging in interstate travel to fraudulently obtain a Florida driver’s License. In December 2020, Qin travelled from New York to Florida and applied for a driver’s License at Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). At the time of his travel, Qin was a resident of Old Westbury, Long Island and Manhattan, but he signed an application stating that it was “true and correct” that he resided at an address in Miami, where he had never lived. To bolster this false assertion, Qin presented FLHSMV officials with fake bank and credit card statements bearing the name “Hui Quin” and the false Miami address. After FLHSMV issued Qin a Florida driver’s License, he presented it to banks and a motor vehicle insurer as identification.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 



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