Democratic Fundraiser Norman Hsu Sentenced to 3 Years

Hsu ran from the law then surrendered as a fugitive

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Paul Sakuma/AP
    Norman Hsu arrives at a San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City, Calif., Friday, Aug. 31, 2007. Hsu, a top Democratic fundraiser wanted as a fugitive in California, turned himself in to face a grand theft charge.

    A state appeals court in San Francisco has upheld a San Mateo County Superior Court sentence of three years in prison for a former  political fundraiser who was a fugitive for 15 years.

    Norman Hsu, 57, was sentenced in January for a 1992 no-contest  plea to a charge of grand theft in an investment scheme.

    County prosecutors said Hsu operated a so-called Ponzi scheme, by  soliciting investments in a purported latex glove company and paying returns  to early investors with funds from later investors. Prosecutors said he  defrauded about 20 victims of nearly $1 million.

    After pleading no contest to one charge of grand theft in 1992 and  agreeing to a three-year sentence, Hsu fled the country instead of appearing  for sentencing.

    He spent about a decade in Hong Kong and returned to the United  States in 2003, where he began donating funds and acting as a fundraiser for  prominent Democratic candidates in California and New York.

    In 2007, Hsu agreed to surrender, but instead of appearing for  sentencing in Redwood City, he fled a second time and was arrested by the FBI  after he became ill on an Amtrak train in Colorado.

    Hsu was finally sentenced to the three-year term on Jan. 4.

    In his appeal, he claimed that he was denied his right to a speedy  trial and his right to be sentenced by the original judge.

    But a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal, in a ruling issued  Tuesday, rejected those arguments. The court said the delay was caused by  Hsu's own actions and that agreeing with his arguments would encourage  defendants to flee.

    Hsu faces separate criminal charges in federal court in New York.