Lawyers for Jia “Jenny” Hou, the campaign treasurer for New York City Comptroller John C. Liu who was charged last month with fraud and obstruction, are in talks with prosecutors on a possible plea, the U.S. said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman today granted a request by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Jacobs to extend the case 30 days to April 30 so federal prosecutors can complete the talks with Hou’s lawyers, Gerald Lefcourt and Sheryl Reich.
“Mr. Lefcourt, Ms. Reich, and I, along with Assistant United States Attorneys Steve C. Lee and Justin Anderson have had discussion regarding a possible disposition of this case but the negotiations have not been completed,” Jacobs said in a filing today in federal court in Manhattan.
Lefcourt didn’t return a call left at his office seeking comment on Hou’s case.
Hou, 25, of Queens, New York, who was responsible for campaign finance disclosures, was charged in February by prosecutors in the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara with using straw donors to circumvent laws that prohibited unusually large contributions to a campaign.
She was also charged with obstructing a federal grand jury investigation in November for failing to produce documents in response to subpoenas and falsely claiming that she had complied with investigators’ requests.
Liu, a candidate for New York City mayor, wasn’t named in the criminal complaint filed against Hou, who was the second person tied to Liu’s campaign to be charged by federal prosecutors in New York. Xing Wu Pan, a fundraiser for Liu, was indicted Feb. 15 on wire fraud charges stemming from a scheme to funnel $16,000 in contributions to the comptroller.
Hou is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, attempted wire fraud and obstruction of justice. Each count carries a prison term of as long as 25 years, Bharara’s office said.
The case is U.S. v. Hou, 12-mag-539, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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