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Monday, May 20, 2024

Billionaire Gets 7 Months in Prison, Expulsion from U.S. After HSI New York Probe

In a landmark case, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the FBI New York, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) New York, successfully prosecuted Hui Qin, a billionaire from the People’s Republic of China. Qin, also known as Qin Hui, Hui Quin, Muk Lam Li, and Karl, was sentenced to seven months in prison for making political contributions in the names of others, immigration fraud, and producing a false identification document.

Qin, a prominent figure listed on Forbes magazine’s List of Billionaires and operator of SMI Culture, a Hong Kong-based entertainment entity, pled guilty to the charges in March. Following his sentencing, he was ordered to abandon his status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States and be removed to a country other than China. The 56-year-old, who resided in Old Westbury, Long Island, and Manhattan, New York, has been incarcerated since his arrest on October 2, 2023.

**“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,”** said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. 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.”**

The investigation revealed that between December 2021 and December 2022, Qin orchestrated a scheme to reimburse individuals who made political contributions on his behalf to various campaign committees. These committees included those for a candidate for a New York City-wide political office, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for a district in the Eastern District of New York, and a candidate for a House of Representatives seat in Rhode Island. Through this scheme, straw donors made approximately $11,600 in contributions on Qin’s behalf, leading to the filing of false contribution reports with the Federal Election Commission in 2022.

In addition to the political contributions scheme, Qin admitted to filing a false application for lawful permanent resident status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in April 2019. He falsely swore, under penalty of perjury, that he had never used another name. In reality, Qin had been provided with the alias Muk Lam Li by a government official in China in 2008. Using this alias, Qin obtained a Hong Kong identification card, a People’s Republic of China identification card, and a Hong Kong passport, which contained his photograph but a different date of birth. In September 2017, he used this alias to transfer more than $5 million from China to a U.S. bank account, part of which was used to purchase a luxury Manhattan apartment.

Qin also pleaded guilty to obtaining a Florida driver’s license fraudulently. In December 2020, he traveled from New York to Florida and falsely claimed residency in Miami to obtain the license. He presented fake bank and credit card statements to support his claim and used the license for identification at banks and a motor vehicle insurer.

**“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,”** said U.S. Attorney Breon 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,”** said FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge James 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,”** said IRS-CI New York Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. **“It is through our law enforcement partnerships and good police work that Qin was held accountable for behaving like he was above the law.”**

Qin’s case highlights the importance of law enforcement partnerships and the ongoing efforts to safeguard the integrity of the U.S. election and immigration systems.

author avatar
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.

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