New York City Comptroller John Liu, who is campaigning for Mayor in 2013, saw his campaign treasurer Jenny Hou arrested this morning on fraud charges by the FBI and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The charges represent the latest legal blow for Mr. Liu’s campaign. One of his chief fundraisers was arrested last November for orchestrating an illegal fundraising scheme.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Ms. Hou “is accused of participating in a scheme that used ‘straw donors’ to funnel to the Campaign large, illegal contributions that were well above the individual limit … with the intent to fraudulently increase the amount of matching funds provided.”
“New York’s campaign finance laws arenot optional. They ensure that all candidates operate on a level playing field and that everyone plays by the rules,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated in the release. “Today, we allege that Jia Hou, a Campaign Treasurer, was a central figure in a coordinated scheme to break the City’s campaign finance laws. As described in the criminal complaint, Hou concealed the use of straw donors, subverted the City’s electoral system, and obstructed justice. As today’s charges demonstrate, unlawful campaign conduct will not betolerated.”
Ms. Hou, who’s only 25 years old, is charged with one count of each: conspiracy to commit wirefraud, attempting to commit wire fraud, and obstruction of justice. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
To what extent these charges will affect Mr. Liu’s mayoral ambitions is unknown.
Read the full complaint against Ms. Hou below: