Former Queens Assemblyman Busted for Accepting $80,000 Fruit Basket

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As you've probably guessed, the cornucopia of fruit delights delivered to 68-year-old former Queens State Assemblyman Jimmy Meng did not contain merely cherries, apples, and whatever else is in season. Meng, an alleged power-broker and father to Queens assemblywoman and congressional candidate Grace Meng, instructed a friend facing state tax crimes to provide him with $80,000, which he would use to bribe several assistant district attorneys to obtain a lesser sentence for the man, according to a criminal complaint filed by United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch.

Unfortunately for Meng, who in 2004 became the first Asian-American elected to the state legislature, this friend wasn't a very good one: He began cooperating with the FBI in December 2011. After the guy delivered the glorious fruit basket to Meng at his lumber yard in Queens, FBI agents arrested the politician, who now faces a wire fraud charge that carries a maximum sentence of twenty years. According to the New York Times, the complaint offers no evidence that Meng even reached out to prosecutors with an offer, suggesting that Meng probably wasn't a very good friend himself.

"Jimmy Meng sought to be a power broker in the halls of justice," U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement. "But the influence he sought to peddle was corrupt, and his power was illusory. This arrest confirms that justice is not for sale."