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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1998 (202) 616-2


Attorney General Janet Reno announced that the Justice Department's Campaign Financing
Task Force secured the indictment of Maria Hsia today. The indictment charges Hsia, a Los Angeles
immigration consultant and Democratic National Committee fundraiser, with conspiring to defraud
the United States and causing the submission of false statements to the Federal Election Commission

The International Buddhist Progress Society, commonly known as the Hsi Lai Temple, was
named as an unindicted coconspirator. The Temple is located in Hacienda Heights, California.

"This is yet another step forward in the Justice Department's investigation of campaign
finance abuses associated with the 1996 election," said Reno.

On January 29, the Task Force secured the indictment of Charlie Trie and Antonio Pan on
charges relating to their fund-raising activities. Last year, the Task Force obtained guilty pleas from
Democratic fund-raisers Nora and Gene Lum, their daughter Trisha, and Michael Brown for illegal
fund-raising activities.

Today's indictment alleges that Hsia, 47, conspired to defraud the United States by various
means. Specifically, the indictment alleges that corporate money belonging to the Temple was used
to make secret, disguised and illegal campaign contributions to federal, state and local candidates
and their political committees.

The scheme used a variety of conduits, including Temple monks and nuns, Temple
volunteers, Hsia's clients, and Hsia herself. According to the allegations, Hsia and the Temple
caused the conduits to make contributions to various political campaigns and committees, including
the DNC, Clinton/Gore '96, Senator Ted Kennedy's 1994 reelection campaign, Congressman Patrick
Kennedy's 1996 reelection campaign, March Fong Eu's 1994 campaign for reelection as Secretary
of State in California, and Don Knabe's 1996 campaign for County Supervisor in Los Angeles. The
conduits, including Hsia, were reimbursed with money from the Temple.


The indictment alleges that this system of conduit payments defrauded both the FEC and the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). As outlined in the indictment, the FEC was
defrauded because, among other things, it was given false information about the source of
contributions to various candidates.
Federal election laws also prohibit any person from making a contribution in the name of
another person (2 U.S.C. § 441f) and require political committees to identify to the FEC every
person making a contribution in excess of $200. Treasurers of political committees must file
periodic reports of receipts and disbursements with the FEC (2 U.S.C. § 434). The FEC relies on
these reports in enforcing the campaign financing laws and when making available to the public
information about the amounts and sources of political contributions to federal candidates and their
political committees.

The INS was allegedly defrauded because, among other things, concealment of the true
source of the funds (in those cases where the source was a non-U.S. citizen associated with the
Temple) was designed to ensure that the INS would permit the conduit to enter or remain in the
United States.

Hsia is also charged with five counts of causing the submission of false statements to the
FEC. These counts stem from the filing of false reports to the FEC by various political committees.
According to the indictment, certain information contained in the reports was based on
misinformation provided by Hsia. The misinformation was the naming of conduits rather than the
Temple as the source of various contributions.

Hsia is expected to surrender tomorrow for arraignment in the District of Columbia. The
case will be prosecuted by the Campaign

Financing Task Force.

All charges made by the government are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed
innocent until proven guilty.