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Date: 05-09-2024

Case Style:

United States of America v. Hui Qin

Case Number: 24-CR-100 (JMA)

Judge: Joan M. Azrack

Court: The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Attorney’s Office for Brooklyn

Defendant's Attorney:

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Brooklyn, New York criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with Straw Donor Campaign Contribution Scheme and Other Frauds

Billionaire Chinese National Sentenced to Seven Months in Prison and Removal from United States for Straw Donor Campaign Contribution Scheme and Other Frauds

in federal court in Central Islip, Hui Qin, also known as “Qin Hui,” “Hui Quin,” “Muk Lam Li” and “Karl,” a citizen of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”), who was listed on Forbes Magazine’s List of Billionaires and who operated SMI Culture, a Hong Kong-based entertainment entity, was sentenced by United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack to seven months’ imprisonment for making political contributions in the names of others, immigration fraud and producing a false identification document. Qin pleaded guilty to the charges in March 2024. As part of his plea, the defendant consented to abandonment of his fraudulently obtained LPR status and removal from the United States immediately after the sentencing. Qin has been incarcerated since his arrest seven months ago on October 2, 2023.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), and Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), announced the sentence.

“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,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Qin has learned a lesson in American civics the hard way, that no one is above the law.”

“Hui Qin violated our democratic norms by illegally attempting to influence election campaigns through fraudulent political donations,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith. “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. Today’s sentence and his removal from the United States should dissuade any future schemers from engaging in similar activity. The FBI is committed to exposing all forms of corruption, especially those that threaten election integrity and our duly elected officials.

“Qin interfered with our election system and tried to gain advantage through his straw donations. He furthered his criminal activity by misrepresenting himself on documents to obtain a false Visa, then lived with an illegitimate status in his $5 million Manhattan apartment. It is through our law enforcement partnerships and good police work that Qin was held accountable for behaving like he was above the law,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Fattorusso.

“By flouting laws vital to the sanctity of the federal election and immigration systems, the defendant threatened not only the community's safety, but the democratic foundation on which the United States of America was established,” stated HSI New York Special Agent-in- Charge Arvelo. “Hui Qin’s sentencing today underscores the importance of law enforcement’s collaboration, coordination, and unwavering dedication to one common goal: protecting the public. HSI New York stands united with our partners against any individuals attempting to jeopardize our national security.”

As set forth in court filings and facts presented at the plea proceeding, between December 2021 and December 2022, Qin agreed to reimburse other individuals who made contributions on his behalf to the campaign committees for a candidate for a New York City-wide political office, a member of the United States House of Representatives for a congressional district in the Eastern District of New York and candidate for a House of Representatives seat in a Rhode Island congressional district. During the scheme, straw donors made approximately $11,600 in contributions on Qin’s behalf, which caused the campaign committees to file false contribution reports with the Federal Election Commission in 2022.

Additionally, as part of his plea Qin admitted that, in April 2019, he filed a false application for LPR status with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. In the application, Qin falsely swore, under penalty of perjury, that he had never used another name. In fact, in 2008, a PRC government official provided Qin with the alias “Muk Lam Li” and 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.

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 government’s case is being handled by the Criminal Section of the Office’s Long Island Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Bradley T. King and Adam Toporovsky are in charge of the prosecution.


Defendant was found guilty and sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment

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