Former state Assemblyman Jimmy Meng of Queens was sentenced to a month of prison time on Tuesday for an elaborate fraud that involved a promise to bribe Manhattan prosecutors, and the judge decided to be lenient on the aging former lawmaker. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Like so many others before him, former state Assemblyman Jimmy Meng of Queens is making the transition from Albany lawmaker to prisoner. He was sentenced Tuesday to a month behind bars, plus a $30,000 fine and four months home confinement, for attempting to swindle a businessman out of $80,000.
"Everybody makes a mistake. Jimmy Meng acknowledged his mistake," said Todd Greenberg, Meng's attorney.
Meng became the first Asian-American elected to the state Legislature in 2004, but served only one term.
It was later, beginning in 2011, that he told a businessman facing tax fraud charges that for $80,000 he could bribe the Manhattan district attorney's office and get the man a reduced sentence.
But Meng, who pleaded guilty in November, never contacted prosecutors, intending only to keep the money, which he had delivered in a fruit basket. His arrest last summer came as his daughter Grace was running for Congress.
Grace Meng won her race, and on Tuesday the U.S. representative from Queens was in court, supporting her father.
"He accepts full consequences, and our family looks forward to moving on past this chapter," she said.
The former assemblyman did not address the media Tuesday, but he apologized in court, saying, "To this day, I cannot explain what came over me and why I did this. There is simply no explanation for my conduct."
The judge, while noting the seriousness and perverseness of his crime, gave Meng a more lenient sentence than sentencing guidelines called for, noting his age, 69; his health and psychiatric problems, including severe depression; and a lifetime of charitable service.
"This incident was an aberration and not typical of him," Greenberg said. "So we’re very happy that the judge took into consideration his background and passed a sentence that she thinks is fair."
As part of his home confinement, Jimmy Meng must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, though he can leave the home for employment purposes. He was also scheduled to 750 hours community service.
Meng is due to surrender on May 3.