Norman Hsu Admits Some Fraud, But Not All

Top Dem fund-raiser pleads guilty

By JONATHAN DIENST
|  Thursday, May 7, 2009  |  Updated 10:47 AM PDT
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Hillary Rodham Clinton: The Diplomat

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Norman Hsu could plead guilty Thursday in connection with political fund-raising for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

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Former top Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu pleaded guilty to running a Ponzi scheme but is vowing to fight charges that he made illegal campaign contributions.

Hsu, 58, was arrested during the presidential campaign for allegedly using straw donors to funnel money into political campaigns, including that of Hillary Clinton. Hsu also made contributions to the campaigns of other leading officials.

"He's like a groupie," said Hsu's attorney, Alan Seidler. "He likes the political process. He feels strongly about (his innocence). He never asked for anthing in return for any of the contributions."

Hsu admitted his role to 10 counts of mail fraud and wire fraud after ripping off investors to the tune of $20 million in what prosecutors called a massive Ponzi scheme. They said he pressured his victims to contribute to political candidates as a way to raise his public profile so he could attract more investors.

Hsu used investment money from his firm, Components Inc., to support his lifestyle as well as use the cash for political fund raising, investigators said.

The political campaign organizations that allegedly received illegal contributions were not accused of any wrongdoing.

Hsu, who has been jailed since his 2007 arrest, was supposed to go on trial Monday. It's not known when he'll be sentenced.

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