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Democratic fundraiser Hsu
released from Colorado hospital

By Ari Burack

September 12, 2007

Prominent Democratic fundraiser and former fugitive Norman Hsu was released into police custody today after nearly a week in a Colorado hospital and now awaits extradition proceedings back to California, an FBI spokesman said.

Following his failure to appear for a court hearing in Redwood City last week, Hsu, 56, is due to be extradited from Colorado back to San Mateo County to be sentenced on a 1991 conviction for grand theft, for which he eluded authorities for 15 years.

FBI agents and Mesa County sheriff's deputies this evening took Hsu from St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction to Mesa County jail, where he was booked at 6:30 p.m., according to FBI San Francisco office spokesman Joseph Schadler.

He is scheduled to have an advisement hearing by video from Mesa County jail Thursday at 1:30 p.m., Schadler said. An extradition date has not yet been set.

According to the California Attorney General's Office, Hsu was convicted in 1991 of a "Ponzi type" scheme to buy and sell latex gloves that defrauded about 20 investors throughout the state out of approximately $1 million. A Ponzi scheme pays high "profits" to investors using money from new investors to the scheme, without actually generating revenues from any real business.

Hsu never showed up for his sentencing in 1992, and eluded authorities for 15 years, later surfacing as a major Democratic Party contributor.

According to Federal Election Commission records, a Norman Hsu -- with apparel-related business names and addresses listed in New York and California -- contributed $260,000 to political parties, most since 2004.

Recipients included the Democratic Party and Democratic U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Barack Obama, D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Hsu reportedly raised larger sums for the Democratic Party by bundling contributions from other donors.

On Monday, Clinton's presidential campaign spokesman announced the campaign would return about $850,000 in contributions raised by Hsu from some 260 donors, and promised to conduct criminal background checks on fundraisers in the future.

On Aug. 31, Hsu surrendered to authorities in Redwood City, only to post $2 million cash bail later that day. He then failed to show up for a scheduled bail hearing on Sept. 5 and a judge issued a no-bail warrant for his arrest.

On Sept. 6 in Colorado, Hsu was found ill on an eastbound Amtrak train originating from Emeryville, Calif. He was taken to St. Mary's Hospital with an unspecified condition and FBI agents arrested him at the hospital later that night.

State attorney general's office spokesman Gareth Lacy said that should Hsu not fight the extradition in federal court in Colorado, he will then likely come directly to San Mateo County Superior Court to set a date for his sentencing, Lacy said.

Hsu faces a maximum of three years in state prison plus compensation to the victims of the latex glove scheme, according to the attorney general's office.

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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