The father of newly elected Queens Rep. Grace Meng pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday to trying to scam $80,000 from a man facing tax charges by claiming that he would use the money to bribe prosecutors in the case.
Jimmy Meng, 69, a former state assemblyman and local power broker from Bayside, admitted taking a fruit basket filled with cash at a meeting at his lumber yard in Flushing, which was secretly monitored by the FBI, and said his bribe promise was bogus.
"I told him I would give the money to the Manhattan D.A. to help with his case," Meng said in response to questions from U.S. District Judge Allyne Ross. "I intended to keep the money."
Meng, who was arrested and charged in July, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud. Federal sentencing guidelines call for him to serve 12 to 18 months. His sentencing was set for March 12.
While he was pleading guilty, his daughter Grace (D-Flushing) -- elected last week as the New York area's first Asian-American member of the House of Representatives -- was hundreds of miles away in Washington, D.C., attending an orientation session for new members of Congress.
"I am deeply saddened by the events surrounding my father the last several months," Grace Meng said in a written statement. "This has been a difficult time for our family and we continue to pray for guidance in the coming months."
Jimmy Meng did not comment after his sentencing, but his lawyer said that he particularly regretted raining on his daughter's career achievement.
"This is a man who is very proud of his daughter," said the lawyer, Todd Greenberg. "He's embarrassed by his actions. We're very thankful it didn't have any effect on the election."