By Joe Anuta
Former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, father of state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), pleaded guilty to wire fraud Wednesday afternoon in order to obtain a reduced sentence.
He faces a maximum of 20 years behind bars when he is sentenced March 12 after the 68-year-old took an $80,000 bribe and promised to use it to influence prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
The former assemblyman, who represented Flushing for one term from 2005 to 2006, was arrested after he accepted the kickback inside of a fruit basket July 24, court documents show.
“I am deeply saddened by the events surrounding my father the last several months. Today, he has taken full responsibility for his actions and I support his decision,” said the assemblywoman, who once served as his campaign manager. “This has been a difficult time for our family and we continue to pray for guidance in the coming months. My family hopes to continue to move past this chapter in their lives.”
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch took Jimmy Meng to task for not only accepting the bribe, but also for planning to keep the money for himself.
“Jimmy Meng sought to take advantage of his status as a power broker in the Flushing, Queens, community with only one design in mind — lining his own pockets. Meng dangled the promise of justice for sale, but his claims of special access to prosecutors were nothing more than lies designed to satisfy his greed,” she said.
Meng had told the person who offered the bribe and later cooperated with prosecutors that he could influence the DA to go easy in a pending court case, according to court documents.
But prosecutors determined that he did not contact anyone at the office and instead intended to keep the money himself.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.