Chinese billionaire with ties to Mayor Adams sentenced to deportation, time served

NEW YORK — Hui Qin, the Chinese billionaire who admitted in March to making straw donations to political campaigns — including Mayor Eric Adams’ — was sentenced Thursday to seven months in prison and removal from the U.S.

Brooklyn federal prosecutor Breon Peace, who handled the case, called the sentencing “a lesson in American civics the hard way.”

“Qin’s brazen (flouting) of our political and immigration systems and his defrauding government agencies resulted in a felony conviction, prison sentence and today, his removal from the United States,” Peace said in a written statement.

Qin pleaded guilty two months ago to making more than $11,000 in illegal donations to three political candidates.

Along with the donations to the Adams campaign, he arranged for illicit contributions to Rep. Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., and Allan Fung, a Republican who ran for Congress in Rhode Island. None of the three politicians have been implicated in any wrongdoing in the case.

When first questioned about Qin’s guilty plea, Adams told reporters he’d “met him before,” but that he was one of “the thousands upon thousands of people that I interacted with” while on the campaign trail.

A month later, The New York Daily News reported there was more to their connection than that — Adams celebrated his 60th birthday party at Qin and his former model wife Emma Duo Liu’s lux Plaza penthouse.

Also in attendance at that party was Adams adviser Winnie Greco, whose Bronx homes were raided in March by the FBI. She hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.

At Thursday’s sentencing of Qin, United States District Judge Joan Azrack ruled in favor of giving him time served, as he’d already been incarcerated since his arrest last October. As part of his plea, Qin also agreed to relinquishing his permanent resident status in the U.S. — which he obtained illegally — as well as his immediate deportation.

In addition to admitting to illegally reimbursing donors for their political contributions, Qin also confessed to filing a false application for legal resident status and fraudulently obtaining a Florida driver’s license, despite not being a legal resident there.

Federal prosecutors said in March that the campaigns targeted by Qin were unaware of his actions because he “concealed” his use of straw donors.

The Qin matter isn’t he only straw donor case connected to Adams’ political operation.

The federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan is probing ties between the Adams campaign and the Turkish government and whether the campaign benefited from illicit Turkish money. As part of that investigation, the FBI seized the mayor’s electronic devices and raided the homes of top campaign fundraiser Brianna Suggs and City Hall adviser Rana Abbasova last November.

In another case, which involved Dwayne Montgomery, a former NYPD inspector and longtime friend of Adams, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleged that several defendants orchestrated a straw donor scheme to help Adams’ campaign in the hopes that they’d benefit down the road.

Montgomery pleaded guilty in that case to misdemeanor conspiracy and was sentenced in April to 200 hours of community service.

Adams hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing in any of the cases.