Did you know that it’s illegal for foreign nationals to contribute financially to American political campaigns? This law makes sense, as it helps prevent any foreign monetary influence on our elections.
According to reports, foreign nationals and Chinese citizens Sherry Xue Li and Lianbo Wang knew about this law prior to initiating a complex and illegal financial scheme that tricked Chinese citizens out of about $27 million in all.
Li and Wang reportedly asked Chinese citizens and other foreigners for money in exchange for fake promises but ultimately ended up spending that money on political donations to Trump’s campaign among other things.
Li and Wang are reportedly naturalized US citizens who live in Long Island. The duo has been collecting donations and money for about ten years in the hopes of building a “cultural” theme park. Initially, the duo planned to call the park “China City of America,” but they later claimed they were raising funds to create a for-profit college campus. Even later, the idea shifted again and turned into a “Thompson Education Center.” Despite all the name changes and shifting goals, none of the duo’s project goals ever materialized into anything.
Meanwhile, the two continued to lure in more investors by sending photographs of a construction site, promising to provide investor visas, and even going to lavish dinners to get photographs with former President Trump.
At least $2.5 million of investor money ultimately was spent on lavish vacations, jewelry, personal items, and more.
International Financial Scams and Investment Schemes: What You Need to Know
Unfortunately for Li and Wang, they’re in some serious hot water now that their schemes have been uncovered. Not only are the two facing charges like money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy, but they’re also facing the very serious charge of conspiring to defraud the US by obstructing the Federal Election Commission’s administration of campaign finance laws.
The penalty for conspiring to defraud the US is imprisonment for up to ten years, and that’s only one of the charges the duo is facing.
Since their arrest, Prosecutors have pushed for the two to remain imprisoned without bail. According to the Prosecution, both individuals are flight risks, and they should only be afforded bail if they present a package with “substantial and meaningful assets.”
What’s more, if a naturalized citizen gets convicted of conspiring to defraud the US, then there is a chance that the naturalized citizen can have their citizenship revoked through denaturalization. While this process doesn’t happen often, it might be a term of the duo’s sentence considering the severity of their crimes.
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