U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. Billionaire Sentenced to 7 Months in Prison and Removal From US

Billionaire Sentenced to 7 Months in Prison and Removal From US Following HSI New York, Partner Investigation

Release Date: May 9, 2024

NEW YORK — A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York investigation, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York; the FBI New York; and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation New York, resulted in a seven-month sentence for Hui Qin, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, for making political contributions in the names of others, immigration fraud, and producing a false identification document.

Qin, also known as Qin Hui, Hui Quin, Muk Lam Li and Karl, was listed on Forbes magazine’s List of Billionaires and operated SMI Culture, a Hong Kong-based entertainment entity. Qin pleaded guilty to the charges in March. As part of the sentence, the judge ordered him to abandon his status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States and to be removed to a country other than China immediately following his sentencing. The 56-year-old, who resided in Old Westbury, Long Island and Manhattan, New York, has been incarcerated since his Oct. 2, 2023, arrest.

“By flouting laws vital to the sanctity of the federal election and immigration systems, the defendant threatened not only the community's safety, but the democratic foundation on which the United States of America was established,” said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo. “Hui Qin’s sentencing today underscores the importance of law enforcement’s collaboration, coordination and unwavering dedication to one common goal: protecting the public. HSI New York stands united with our partners against any individuals attempting to jeopardize our national security.”

According to the investigation, between December 2021 and December 2022, Qin agreed to reimburse other individuals who made contributions on his behalf to the campaign committees for a candidate for a New York City-wide political office, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for a congressional district in the Eastern District of New York, and a candidate for a House of Representatives seat in a Rhode Island congressional district. During the scheme, straw donors made approximately $11,600 in contributions on Qin’s behalf, which caused the campaign committees to file false contribution reports with the Federal Election Commission in 2022.

Additionally, as part of his plea, Qin admitted that in April 2019, he filed a false application for lawful permanent resident status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In the application, Qin falsely swore, under penalty of perjury, that he had never used another name. In fact, in 2008, a government official in China provided Qin with the alias Muk Lam Li. Between 2008 and the filing of his lawful permanent resident application, Qin obtained a Hong Kong identification card, a People’s Republic of China identification card, and a Hong Kong passport in the name of the Li alias, which contained Qin’s photograph, but a date of birth different from Qin’s. Around September 2017, Qin used the Li alias to transfer more than $5 million from the People’s Republic of China to a U.S. bank account, a portion of which was used to purchase a luxury Manhattan apartment where Qin resided.

Qin also pleaded guilty to engaging in interstate travel to fraudulently obtain a Florida driver’s license. In December 2020, Qin travelled from New York to Florida and applied for a driver’s license at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. At the time he traveled, Qin was a resident of Old Westbury, Long Island and Manhattan, but he signed an application stating that it was “true and correct” that he resided at an address in Miami, where he had never lived. To bolster this false assertion, Qin presented officials with fake bank and credit card statements bearing the name Hui Quin and the false Miami address. After Qin received his Florida driver’s license, he presented it to banks and a motor vehicle insurer as identification.

“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,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace. “Qin has learned a lesson in American civics the hard way — that no one is above the law.”

“Hui Qin violated our democratic norms by illegally attempting to influence election campaigns through fraudulent political donations,” said FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith. “His unlawful actions and repeated efforts to exploit various government agencies were disrupted by the FBI and such attempts by other threat actors will not be tolerated. Today’s sentence and his removal from the United States should dissuade any future schemers from engaging in similar activity. The FBI is committed to exposing all forms of corruption, especially those that threaten election integrity and our duly elected officials.”

“Qin interfered with our election system and tried to gain advantage through his straw donations. He furthered his criminal activity by misrepresenting himself on documents to obtain a false Visa, then lived with an illegitimate status in his $5 million Manhattan apartment,” said IRS Criminal Investigation New York Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. “It is through our law enforcement partnerships and good police work that Qin was held accountable for behaving like he was above the law.”

Last Updated: 05/09/2024
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content