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Grace Meng's Father Arrested in Bogus Plot to Bribe Prosecutors

By Tom Liddy | July 24, 2012 7:05pm
Assemblywoman Grace Meng greeted voters in Forest Hills on Wednesday morning.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng greeted voters in Forest Hills on Wednesday morning.
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DNAInfo/Nigel Chiwaya

QUEENS — Former Queens Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, the father of Queens assemblywoman and congressional candidate Grace Meng, was busted by the feds Tuesday for promising to help a man bribe Manhattan prosecutors and then trying to hoodwink him out of the $80,000 payoff.

In the brazen scheme, Meng allegedly told the victim, who was facing state tax offenses in Manhattan, that he wanted the money to pay off prosecutors delivered to him in a fruit basket.

The former assemblyman, whose daughter could become the first Asian-American in the New York congressional delegation, allegedly told the person that he could get the sentence reduced to one year if he paid off the trio of assistant district attorneys.

“Meng...promised he could reduce a defendant’s sentence, but only if they paid the right price and promised to keep Meng’s intentions a secret," said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice Fedarcyk in a statement.

"As it turns out, Meng was only looking to pad his own pockets in the form of a bountiful fruit basket worth $80,000 in bribe money. "

Meng never contacted the Manhattan DA's office and intended to keep the money for himself, according to the FBI.

The former assemblyman met the informant last December, and said that he would have to pay each of the ADAs $20,000 to get a one-year jail term, according to the criminal complaint.  For $120,000 he allegedly promised that he could guarantee no jail time.

After the meeting, the person started to cooperate with investigators and agreed to record numerous phone conversations and meetings with Meng about the alleged bribe relating to the 2011 tax case.

During a meeting between the two in January at Meng's lumberyard in Queens, Meng told the person to put $80,000 in a basket of fruit and then send someone to collect it.

"You just pack up some fruits and place some money in there," he allegedly said.

According to the documents, Meng said that he had been trying diligently to get the district attorneys in the case to agree on the jail stint.

"I’ve already dined with them four or five times and talked about your case," he allegedly said.

Meng promised to pay back the cash, minus an $2,000 "errand fee," according to court papers.

“If you — he sentenced you to more than two years, this money — let me tell you — I promise to give back to you,” the former assemblyman allegedly said.

Then he asked the person to swear to secrecy.

“You can never say in the future that Jimmy Meng helped me find people,” Meng said, according to court papers.

On Tuesday the informant met Meng hear his lumberyard with thousands of dollars in the fruit basket.

Meng allegedly accepted the cash and was placed under arrest by the FBI.

The former Assemblyman faces 20 years in jail on wire fraud charges if convicted.

"I am shocked and deeply saddened by these allegations. Prior to this afternoon’s reports, I had no knowledge of my father’s actions or the investigation," said Meng in a statement.

"I am independent of my father — always have been, always will be. Until more facts emerge and we have a better understanding of the situation, the only thing further I’ll say is that I urge my father to fully cooperate with all authorities."