Former Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison Tuesday by a judge who accused him of funding his fraud with a "conniving use of the political process."
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero sentenced Hsu to 20 years in prison for his guilty plea to fraud charges and another four years and four months in prison for his conviction at trial for breaking campaign finance laws.
The judge said Hsu stole more than $50 million from hundreds of investors in a 10-year fraud by winning their confidence with a pristine reputation, even as he ripped them off in a complex Ponzi scheme, a recipe that the judge noted fits many white collar crimes.
He called Hsu a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
He said his "conniving use of the political process to fund his fraud" made his crimes "much more sinister and reprehensible."
Before he was sentenced, Hsu apologized.
His donations became an embarrassment for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. His arrest led Clinton to return more than $800,000 to donors linked to Hsu.
Prosecutors say Hsu obtained millions of dollars from investors by claiming clothing or high-technology ventures would pay returns of 14 and 20 percent. Instead, he spent the money on himself.
Hsu's decade-long Ponzi scheme collapsed in September 2007.