- Rich Klein
Judge Orders That Sherry Li Remain In Jail
BROOKLYN - Sherry Li - a self-proclaimed developer who introduced the concept of China City of America to Sullivan County in 2013 who was arrested with partner Lianbo Wang in July at her Long Island home for allegedly misleading investors about the project - will remain in jail following an order on Monday by a federal judge.
The order came after a bond hearing held in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District here.
Judge Rachel P. Kovner denied Li's second bond proposal in less than a month, after Judge Ramon Reyes, Jr. denied the first bond proposal on September 28.
It was also Reyes who ordered Li detained at her first court appearance on July 18, the day that she and Wang were arrested after a raid of their Oyster Bay home by the Federal Bureau of Investigation the same day.
The government has maintained since the pair were arrested that both pose a serious flight risk, in part because at least one of the co-conspirators in their alleged financial fraud scheme remains in the People's Republic of China.
The second proposal put forth by Li's attorney included new names as potential suretors, including her teenage son, whose name The SullivanTimes is withholding.
But the other suretors put forward in the unsuccessful attempt by her attorney to get Li released are listed below:
The SullivanTimes reached out to some of the suretors. Only Tien Wen Yuan of Bayside/Queens responded to a request for comment, confirming by telephone she had agreed to be a suretor but did not want to discuss the case beyond that.
Meanwhile, the government on October 18 filed a letter with Kovner opposing Li's motion for bond review.
Li and Wang are accused of perpetuating a "massive, multi-layered" fraud scheme targeting foreign nationals ranging from a sham real estate investment, (TEC) promised benefits for payment, the solicitation for access to U.S. politicians, to making illegal donations for campaigns," according to federal officials.
They each face three charges: wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) administration of campaign finance laws. Conviction on all three charges alone could result in prison terms of 45 years, prosecutors say. "The staggering scope of this alleged fraud was facilitated by an abuse in the investor visa process,” Ricky J. Patel, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, said.
The criminal complaint against the pair was unsealed the same day that the Department of Justice announce their arrests in a detailed press release.
On the same day of the arrests, The SullivanTimes published an editorial expressing the view that many in Sullivan County's business and political community got played by Li and failed to ask tough questions about her background, financing and project plans.