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John Liu straw-donor case convictions affirmed by appeals court

Fundraiser Xing Wu Oliver Pan, left, a former

Fundraiser Xing Wu Oliver Pan, left, a former fundraiser for NYC Comptroller John Liu, center, and former campaign treasurer Jia Jenny Hou, right. Photo Credit: Newsday File

A federal appeals court in Manhattan on Monday upheld the convictions of a former campaign aide and a fundraiser who were caught up in a straw-donor scheme involving one-time New York City comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu.

A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 2013 convictions of former campaign treasurer Jia “Jenny” Hou, 29, and fundraiser Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, 49, just two weeks after hearing oral arguments in the case.

The court found enough evidence for a jury to conclude that both participated in an effort to unlawfully get matching funds for Liu from the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and also approved Hou’s conviction for lying to the FBI and hiding documents.

Hou was sentenced to 10 months in jail in 2013, but a different three judge panel released her after only a few weeks, finding that her appeal had a good chance of success. She will now have to complete her sentence. Pan served a 4-month sentence.

Hou’s defense lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, said he was disappointed in the verdict. “I’m happy to say I totally believe in her innocence,” said Lefcourt. “There isn’t a shred of evidence to show she had any knowledge of any fraud on the City of New York.”

Pan and Hou were targeted during a long-running federal probe of Liu, but Liu was never charged with anything.

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