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John Liu’s fundraiser arrested in fraud probe

BUY-SELL | HELP WANTED | MATRIMONIAL

New York: The feds Wednesday arrested a New Jersey man for allegedly steering illegal contributions to NYC Comptroller John Liu, whose campaign finances are under investigation.

Liu has been considered a candidate for city Mayor in 2013 and has enjoyed strong support of the Indian American community. Unfortunately, community leaders say, he has not done much for the community-for example, not inducted Indian Americans into his administration and so on.

Meanwhile, the arrested fundraiser Xing Wu Pan is accused of using phantom or “straw” donors to conceal illegal contributions that exceeded limits for citywide office, according to the complaint filed by Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara and New York FBI Director Janice Fedarcyk.

Pan is charged with attempted wire fraud and conspiracy.
The alleged scam worked in two ways: it allowed for money to be directly funneled into Liu’s campaign and it also entitled Liu to qualify for taxpayer matching funds to fatten his campaign kitty, the complaint said.

The federal complaint said Pan and co-conspirators used 20 straw donors to funnel $16,000 to Liu’s campaign-or four times the $4,950 individual limit allowed for citywide campaigns.

The man Pan received $16,000 from was an undercover FBI agent, who spoke to him in English and Mandarin during recorded conversations.

Pan promised the agent a personal meeting with the candidate, believed to be Liu, who is described as a candidate for citywide office in 2013. The feds have conducted a sweeping probe of Liu’s questionable fundraising practices.

In a statement, Liu said, “I am saddened by what I read today. If it is true then the conduct was clearly wrong and my campaign was not told the truth.”

Mr. Liu, in a statement released after news broke of Mr. Pan’s arrest, said: “I am saddened by what I read today. If it is true, then the conduct was clearly wrong and my campaign was not told the truth.”

Liu’s lawyer, Paul Shechtman, said that Pan was operating without Liu’s approval. Liu himself has refused to discuss his relationship with Pan.

The comptroller, who has in the past said he personally maintained strict controls on his fund-raising operation, has been struggling to address questions after a report last month in The New York Times found that some people listed as his donors in campaign documents said they had never given money to Mr. Liu.

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