Two campaign associates of City Comptroller John Liu will be spending some time in federal prison after being sentenced Thursday on their fraud convictions. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Jenny Hou broke down in tears in front of the judge.
Maintaining her innocence, John Liu's former campaign treasurer said she didn't have the life experience to realize fake donations were being funneled to Liu's mayoral campaign. But that didn't save her from time behind bars.
Hou was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Thursday.
Reacting outside of court, she said, "Just very thankful for everybody's support, support that I got from strangers, everyone in the community. Just very thankful."
Hou and former campaign fundraiser Oliver Pan were convicted of fraud related to a straw donor scheme back in May. They were accused of trying to get fake donations, along with public matching funds, to Liu.
They plan to appeal.
"She's going to be successful on appeal because there was no evidence that warranted a jury to convict her."
Pan was sentenced to four months in prison. His attorney, Irwin Rochman, said that Pan was never the subject of the case.
"The government's purpose here was to try to make a criminal case against John Liu,," Rochman said.
The case did derail the comptroller's bid for city hall.
On Thursday night, Liu remained defiant, taking no responsibility for Hou and Pan heading to prison.
"Even after the most intrusive, after the most exhaustive investigation, they found nothing, at which point they then set out to set up these people, and that's exactly what's happened," Liu said. "So the question should be, why were these people set up in the first place?"
Liu said he sat down with Hou following the sentencing.
"I said I'm proud of her," he said. "I said that life will go on, and that I'm going to support her in whatever decision she makes."
During the sentencing, Judge Richard Sullivan told both Hou and Pan that he believed they were good people and that this would be just one chapter in their lives. Nonetheless, he said they had to pay for their crimes, attempting to undercut a city election. He called it a tragic day for everyone.