NRIs

Padam Bhusan awardee Sant Singh Chatwal's Sentencing in Illegal Donations Case is fixed for Thursday

October 18, 2014 09:42 PM
Indian National prestigious Padam Bhusan Awardee Sant Singh Chatwal

NEW YORK:  Indian-American hotelier and  indian National prestigious Padam Bhusan Awardee Sant Singh Chatwal's sentencing on charges of illegally donating thousands of dollars to political campaigns in the US has been fixed for October 23.

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

The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 25 years but under the plea deal with the government,and as well as his pleading guilty of the crime  Mr Chatwal could be sentenced to a little more than five years and may have to pay USD 500,000 as fine. He also agreed to forfeit USD one million to the US.

Mr Chatwal will be first National Indian Padam Bhusan awardee to be jailed  on a charge of fraud and cheating,  disgracing Indian national award.

Mr Chatwal, 70, a Padma Bhushan awardee and major fundraiser for former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had pleaded guilty in April of 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.

Mr Chatwal who has suredenred his passport to court is free on a bail of USD 750,000.

The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 25 years but under the plea deal with the government,and as well as his pleading guilty of the crime  Mr Chatwal could be sentenced to a little more than five years and may have to pay USD 500,000 as fine. 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 Mr Chatwal's pre-sentence report and sentencing submissions on his behalf.

Sack said Mr 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 Mr Chatwal used his employees, business associates and contractors who performed work on his hotels to solicit campaign contributions on Mr Chatwal's behalf in support of various candidates for federal office and political action committees, collect these contributions, and he paid reimbursements for these contributions.

Mr 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.

Mr 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 Mr Chatwal or one of Mr Chatwal's companies.

Large number of Indian opposed awarding Padam Bhushan to Mr Chatwal but them Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Sing had made up his mind to award Indian national award to an NRI citizen of USA. Dr Manmohan Singh ignored all adverse recommendations as someone has recommended Mr Chatwal name for giving him Nation honour for his contribution as an NRI for promoting prestige of India in USA especially in high political circles.

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