Jia “Jenny” Hou walked out of a Pennsylvania detention facility a free woman last week after an immigration judge decided not to deport her to China. The treasurer of former City Comptroller John Liu’s 2013 mayoral campaign had been mired in legal problems since she was convicted in federal court of soliciting illegal donations.
The immigration court’s decision, rendered by Judge Kuyomars Golparvar, came at the end of a three-hour hearing in York, Pa. Liu, who was not charged with any wrongdoing in the original case, sat with Hou’s family in the courtroom and spoke with reporters after her release.
Hou was 27 years old in 2013 when she was found in Manhattan federal court guilty of attempted wire fraud, obstructing justice and making false statements to authorities and though she faced up to 45 years in prison, she was sentenced to just 10 months. She filed an appeal midway through her jail time and was released to wait for the results at home.
After losing that appeal, Hou was sent back to prison last March, and when she completed her sentence in December, she was transferred to an immigration detention center to await the court’s decision on whether she would be deported because of her felony conviction.
After the court allowed her to stay in the United States, Hou vowed to use good judgment in her future and thanked the Chinese community in eastern Queens for their support throughout this painful period.