Three-year sentence upheld for Norman Hsu

November 19, 2008 12:35:05 PM PST
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.


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