Chatwal`s sentencing in illegal donations case moved to October

Indian-American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal`s sentencing on charges of illegally donating thousands of dollars to political campaigns in the US has been delayed till October.

New York: Indian-American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal`s sentencing on charges of illegally donating thousands of dollars to political campaigns in the US has been delayed till October.

US District Judge I Leo Glasser granted the request made by Chatwal`s lawyer Jonathan Sack earlier this week, seeking "adjournment of the sentencing" from July 31, and scheduled the sentencing on October 23.

Chatwal, 70, a Padma Bhushan awardee and major fundraiser for former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act by making more than USD 180,000 in federal campaign donations to three candidates through straw donors who were reimbursed and to witness tampering.

Chatwal is free on a USD 750,000 bail and has surrendered his passport.

The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 25 years but under the plea deal with the government, Chatwal could be sentenced to a little more than five years and may have to pay USD 500,000 in fines.

He also agreed to forfeit USD one million to the US.

In a submission before Glasser, Sack had requested that the sentencing be adjourned from July to around October 23, citing the need for more time to gather relevant information for Chatwal`s pre-sentence report and sentencing submissions on his behalf.

Sack said Chatwal has lived in India, Ethiopia as well as the US and "gathering information about his background and substantial activities in these locations has proven time- consuming."

The alternate date in October was also agreeable to federal prosecutors.

According to court filings, from 2007 to 2011 Chatwal used his employees, business associates and contractors who performed work on his hotels to solicit campaign contributions on Chatwal`s behalf in support of various candidates for federal office and political action committees, collect these contributions, and pay reimbursements for these contributions.

Chatwal and his associates induced straw donors to make the campaign contributions, promising them that they would be reimbursed.

A straw donor is someone who illegally uses someone else`s money to make campaign contributions in his or her own name.

Chatwal orchestrated a scheme to make approximately USD 188,000 in campaign contributions to three candidates for federal office via straw donors and he often arranged for the straw donors to be reimbursed through his associates, ultimately paying for the reimbursed contributions with funds belonging to Chatwal or one of Chatwal`s companies.

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