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September 29, 2009

Fundraiser Hsu gets 24-year (within-guideline?) federal sentence for ponzi scheming

The high-profile, white-collar sentencing of the day is described in this Wall Street Journal article headlined "Campaign Fund-Raiser Hsu Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison." Here are the basics:

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced former Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu to more than 24 years in prison for illegally funneling tens of thousands of dollars to U.S. political candidates and for his role in a Ponzi scheme.

The sentence of 292 months in prison, handed down in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Judge Victor Marrero, was less than the 30 years that the prosecution had requested.

Before Judge Marrero announced the sentence, Mr. Hsu quietly told him: "I know apologizing will not make things better for anyone, but I would still like to apologize to your Honor, and to everyone else." Federal prosecutors said the apology was meaningless, arguing that Mr. Hsu wasn't as cooperative as he could have been.

Mr. Hsu's attorney, Alan Seidler, said his client wasn't surprised by the sentence. Mr. Seidler says his client intends to appeal, as Mr. Hsu disputes the amount of money lost to investors on which the sentence was calculated. Prosecutors have said that investors, collectively, lost at least $20 million.

Mr. Hsu was convicted in May of illegally funneling tens of thousands of dollars to U.S. political candidates. Also in May, he pleaded guilty to charges related to a Ponzi scheme that prosecutors said raised at least $60 million and swindled investors out of at least $20 million.

This description of the sentencing leads me to suspect that Hsu received a within-guideline sentence and that he will be appealing on a guideline-related loss calculation issue.

September 29, 2009 at 06:48 PM | Permalink

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