Two accused of diverting funds from foreigners to political donations

2 charged over straw donations to Trump

Two Chinese-American businessmen were charged on Monday with embezzling money from foreigners for political donations that bought entry to an exclusive dinner with President Donald Trump so the duo could impress and defraud the public. Chinese investors.

Sherry Xue Li and Lianbo “Mike” Wang were being held without bond after their first appearance in federal court in Brooklyn. They face various federal conspiracy charges in what prosecutors have described as a complex financial scheme with political tentacles.

The naturalized US citizens are business partners who share a Long Island home with some of Li’s relatives, including her 15-year-old son.

Li, 50, has been promoting development projects near the Catskill Mountains in New York for nearly a decade. Originally envisioned as a “China City of America” ​​cultural theme park, it morphed into a proposed for-profit college campus after local officials told Li that zoning would not allow “Chinese Disneyland” to she had originally planned.

The “Thompson Education Center” never materialized either, and prosecutors say little work was done on it.

But according to court documents from federal prosecutors, Li and Wang, 45, tricked investors into pouring at least $27 million into the project, in part by dangling bogus promises of investor visas. Both supported these assurances by creating an image of influence with prominent American politicians.

In one instance, that image was as literal as a photo with Trump.

Li and Wang solicited money from strangers to give more than $600,000 in donations — converted to Wang and Li’s names — to attend and bring guests to a June 2017 fundraising dinner with Trump, prosecutors said. A photo from the event shows Li with Trump and then-First Lady Melania Trump.

It is illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to US political campaigns. Prosecutors have alleged no foul play by the political action committees that accepted Li and Wang’s donations.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland broke her left leg while hiking in Shenandoah National Park on Sunday, the Interior Department said in a statement Monday.

“An evaluation this morning confirmed a fracture to his left fibula,” the statement read. “She is grateful to the park staff, the United States Park Police and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center team for their excellent care.”

Haaland, 61, the first Native American to serve as Cabinet Secretary, will resume her schedule virtually Monday afternoon, according to the Department of the Interior.

The severity of Haaland’s injury is unclear, neither where the fracture occurred on the fibula nor how long it will take for it to heal. The fibula, also called the calf bone, is a long bone that runs next to the larger tibia or tibia bone.

Haaland has often spoken of his love of the outdoors. Last year she completed the Boston Marathon.