Jailed Democratic fundraiser headed to Calif. | VailDaily.com
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Jailed Democratic fundraiser headed to Calif.

GRAND JUNCTION – The Mesa County sheriff released former Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu on Thursday to officials from California, where he faces a 15-year-old felony theft conviction.

Hsu was arrested in Grand Junction two weeks ago after failing to show up for a court appearance in California.

On Wednesday, he appeared in a Colorado state court in handcuffs and ankle shackles and agreed to return to California without a legal fight.

Officials in San Mateo County, Calif., where Hsu will be taken, did not immediately return a call Thursday.

Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed a criminal complaint Thursday charging Hsu with breaking campaign finance laws and creating a “massive” Ponzi scheme.

The complaint says Hsu ” who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and others ” violated campaign finance laws by making contributions to candidates in other people’s names and perpetrated a Ponzi scheme to defraud victims across the United States of more than $60 million.

Robert Emmers, a spokesman for Hsu, declined to comment. Hsu’s lawyer in San Francisco, Jim Brosnahan, did not immediately return phone messages Thursday.

The charges are the latest in a string of legal problems for Hsu.

In Colorado, the Mesa County sheriff released Hsu to officials from California, where he faces a 15-year-old felony theft conviction. He was captured in Colorado after skipping a scheduled court appearance in California on the theft case.

In that case, state prosecutors accused him of fraudulently persuading investors to pump money into a clothing import business that didn’t actually exist. He pleaded no contest, and left town before he could be sentenced. Investigators believed he fled to Hong Kong.

The fraud case was largely forgotten when he returned to the United States and years later began aggressively raising money for Democrats, including Clinton.

His more recent troubles began this summer when news reports revealed his criminal history and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Politicians began returning his money. Clinton said she would give back $850,000.

Investors in Hsu’s business ventures also began claiming that they had been duped.

Source Financing Investors, a fund run by one of the creators of the 1969 Woodstock rock festival, complained to Manhattan prosecutors that it put $40 million into Hsu business ventures that it now suspects were fraudulent.

Hsu was not expected to be in New York on Thursday to face the new charges.


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