By Joe Anuta
Jimmy Meng, the father of U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside), was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to one month in prison and fined $30,000 after pleading guilty to wire fraud in Brooklyn federal court.
The 69-year-old served as assemblyman for the downtown Flushing area from 2005 to 2006 and has remained an influential political force ever since. He was arrested in July for accepting an $80,000 bribe in exchange for offering to influence prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, although Meng never attempted to follow through with his ploy, according to the office of Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
“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,” Lynch said in a statement following his plea. “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.”
Meng had told an acquaintance who was in legal trouble that he could obtain a lighter sentence with the bribe money, according to prosecutors. With the FBI watching, the acquaintance gave Meng a fruit basket in Flushing containing the cash, and the former lawmaker was promptly taken into custody.
He had faced a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 before reaching a plea deal with prosecutors Nov. 14.
And while Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross said Meng took advantage of his prominent status in the community to enrich himself, she showed some mercy to the former lawmaker in the sentencing due to his age, community service record and health, the New York Post reported. She also sentenced Meng to 750 hours of community service and two years probation, the Post reported.
His daughter, who was elected to Congress last fall, was in the court along with other members of his family.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.