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Jimmy Meng, father of Assemblywoman Grace Meng, charged with wire fraud

Jimmy Meng, a former state assemblyman, was arrested on charges of wire fraud.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Jimmy Meng, a former Flushing state assemblyman and father of current Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), was arrested on charges of wire fraud in an FBI sting operation after he accepted a fruit basket containing $80,000 in bribery money Tuesday afternoon at his Flushing-based company, according to federal prosecutors.

In 2011, Meng told an unnamed acquaintance facing charges on state tax crimes that members of the Manhattan district attorney’s office could be influenced into doling out a lesser sentence with an $80,000 bribe, according to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, who alleged that Meng offered to broker the deal.

But Meng never actually contacted anyone in the prosecutor’s office and instead led the acquaintance into believing the money could influence the case, Lynch said.

The unnamed person eventually went to the government and turned into a witness, wearing a wire since December to record ongoing discussions between him and Meng about the nature of the bribe, Lynch said.

“As alleged in the complaint, Jimmy Meng sought to be a power broker in the halls of justice. But the influence he sought to peddle was corrupt and his power was illusory,” Lynch said in a statement.

The sting operation ended Tuesday afternoon, when the cooperating witness brought a fruit basket filled with $80,000 stuffed inside, on Meng’s instructions, to Queens Lumber, at 34-47 College Point Blvd., and federal agents arrested Meng.

“Meng, as alleged in the complaint, 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 Janice Fedarcyk, the FBI’s assistant director. “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.”

The news appeared to blindside Meng’s daughter, the Democratic candidate for the redrawn Queens congressional seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside). Grace Meng now holds her father’s old Flushing seat in the Assembly.

“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,” Grace Meng said. “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.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Lou from Bayside says:
The apple doesnt fall far from the tree. In addition she got an endorsement form the pathetic Ackerman who is as dirty as they come. Democrats and corruption are one and the same!
July 25, 2012, 9:07 pm
Cleo from College Point says:
I'm baffled. There was $80,000 in cash in a basket ... of fruit?

How big was the basket and who in their right mind would think a lumberyard owner would have any say in court?

And who is Grace Meng? Does she work in court?

Wow, she should not be a candidate at all if there is a recording of her father getting caught redhanded but I see that Mayor Bloomberg endorsed her recently which is strange. I would think the Mayor would be pissy about this kind of thing. Look at how serious he gets over Big Gulps.
Oct. 5, 2012, 8:12 pm

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