America

Chinese Magnate in Straw Donor Scheme Agrees to Leave U.S. in Plea Deal

A Chinese entertainment magnate who pleaded guilty to making more than $10,000 in illegal political campaign donations to three candidates, agreed in federal court on Thursday to give up his green card and leave the United States.

Hui Qin, 55, had been in jail in Brooklyn since his arrest in October. One of the candidates was Mayor Eric Adams, according to two people familiar with the case, though none of the campaigns knew the donations were illegal, prosecutors said.

In March, Mr. Qin pleaded guilty to charges of making campaign contributions in the names of others, immigration fraud and producing false identification. On Thursday, he was sentenced to seven months in jail with credit for time served.

In court on Long Island on Thursday, Mr. Qin wept as his lawyer, Henry Mazurek, told Judge Joan M. Azrack that his client was a “self-made businessman” in China whose chain of more than 3,000 movie theaters had been ruined by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. His company collapsed, he was the target of lawsuits and his wife, Emma Liu, left him, Mr. Mazurek said.

Mr. Qin got involved in the straw donor scheme in an effort to reconcile with Ms. Liu, who was politically active, Mr. Mazurek said. He argued that his client had paid for his mistakes with his time in the notoriously harsh Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

Mr. Qin briefly addressed the judge through a Mandarin interpreter, apologizing for his actions through tears and saying he feared he would not be able to see his three children, who live in the United States.

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