Jimmy Meng, Former Queens Assemblyman, Busted With $80K In A Fruit Basket (Of Course It Was A Bribe...Allegedly)
Well, this can't be good for Grace Meng's Congressional campaign...
The Democratic hopeful's father, Jimmy Meng, is the first Asian-American to be elected to the New York Legislature in the history of the Empire State. After allegedly accepting a fruit basket packed with $80,000 in cash earlier today, he now becomes the first Asian-American state legislator in New York history hit with fraud charges.
Federal authorities say the former Queens assemblyman solicited a bribe from an unidentified man charged with tax crimes in state court. Meng allegedly told the man that he could guarantee him a reduced sentence by bribing prosecutors if he forked over 80,000 bucks -- which the man did this afternoon...in a fruit basket...as federal authorities were watching.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by the Voice, in 2011, the unidentified man went to Meng -- a once powerful state lawmaker -- and asked if he had any advice in regard to his legal troubles. Meng told the man that several assistant district attorneys from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office had been assigned to his case, and that if he gave them $20,000 each he would be given a plea deal that would keep him behind bars for no more than a year -- which is substantially less time than was offered in his initial plea deal.
Unfortunately for the former lawmaker, it seems the alleged tax cheat went to authorities with Meng's offer -- between December of last year and a few days ago, at the directive of federal authorities, the unidentified man recorded several conversations he'd had with Meng, in which the two men discussed the alleged bribery scheme.
In one conversation, Meng told the man that if he received a sentence longer than two years in prison, he would return the money -- with the exception of a $2,000 "errand fee."
"I'll be responsible," Meng told the man, according to the complaint. "If (sic) didn't get it done for you, right? Over three years, right? Over two years, right? Then just charge you $2,000 -- $2,000 for running errands, and the rest...will be returned to you completely."
Meng allegedly then told the man to gather the $80,000 and hide it in a fruit basket that he would pick up, noting that to ensure the bribe scheme remain a secret, he "can never say in the future that Jimmy Meng helped me find people."
According to the complaint, on or about July 17, Meng called the man and told him to get the money together and deliver it to a lumber yard owned by the former lawmaker. Meng allegedly told the man "give it to me and I will give it to them," presumably meaning the corrupt prosecutors.
This afternoon, after the money was delivered to the lumberyard and accepted by Meng, he was taken into custody.
As for those crooked A.D.A.s Meng claimed he knew: federal authorities say they don't exist, and that Meng made them up in an attempt to steal the man's money.
If convicted on the fraud charge, Meng faces up to 20 years in prison.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.