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MENG FINAL COMPLAINT

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MENG FINAL COMPLAINT Powered By Docstoc
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F. #2011R02156

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - X

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
                                        COMPLAINT
     - against -                       (18 U.S.C. § 1343)

JIMMY MENG,

                 Defendant.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - X

EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, SS:

          AMY M. HIRINA, being duly sworn, deposes and says that

she is a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation

(“FBI”), duly appointed according to law and acting as such.

          Upon information and belief, there is probable cause to

believe that in or about and between December 2011 and July 2012,

both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the Eastern

District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant JIMMY MENG,

having devised a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain

money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent

pretenses, representations and promises, did knowingly and

intentionally transmit and cause to be transmitted by means of

wire communication in interstate commerce, writings, signs,
signals, pictures and sounds for the purpose of executing such

scheme and artifice.

          (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343).

          The source of your deponent’s information and the

grounds for her belief are as follows:

          1.   I have been a Special Agent with the FBI for

approximately seven years.    The facts set forth in this affidavit

are based on interviews with a cooperating witness (the “CW”),

consensual recordings, information obtained from the review of

documents, and information obtained from others in law

enforcement who participated in the investigation detailed below.

          2.   Because the purpose of this complaint is to set

forth only those facts necessary to establish probable cause, I

have not described all of the relevant facts and circumstances of

which I am aware.   In addition, when I rely on statements made by

others, such statements are set forth in part and in substance

unless otherwise indicated.

Background

          3.   The CW was indicted by the New York County

District Attorney’s Office (“Manhattan DA”) in approximately June

2011 for tax offenses.1


1
     The CW is cooperating with the federal government in hopes
of receiving a benefit in his/her pending state case. On July

                                  2
            4.   The CW informed the FBI that following his

indictment:

                 (a) The CW told his/her friends that the Manhattan

DA had offered the CW a plea agreement whereby the CW would

receive a sentence of two to six years and that the Manhattan DA

did not want to negotiate with the CW’s lawyer for a lesser

sentence.    The CW’s friends recommended that s/he speak to the

defendant JIMMY MENG, a former Queens assemblyman and owner of a

lumber yard in Flushing, Queens, about helping the CW obtain a

lower plea offer from the Manhattan DA.

                 (b)   On or about December 8, 2011, the CW called

MENG to discuss the CW’s case and MENG asked the CW to fax him

the index number of the CW’s indictment.

                 (c)   On or about December 9, 2011, the CW met MENG

at MENG’s lumber yard to discuss how the CW could get a better

plea offer from the Manhattan DA.      MENG told the CW that MENG

needed approximately two weeks to find out more about the CW’s

case.




20, 2012, the CW pled guilty in this district, pursuant to a
cooperation agreement, to an information charging bank fraud in
violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344. The CW
also intends to plead guilty to the CW’s pending tax charges in
New York County.

                                   3
                  (d)   On or about December 19, 2011, MENG met with

the CW again at MENG’s lumber yard.      During that meeting, MENG

told the CW that three Assistant District Attorneys (“ADAs”) were

assigned to the CW’s case and that if the CW paid each of the

ADAs $20,000, the CW would be sentenced to only one year in

prison.2   The CW told MENG that s/he would have to think about

the offer because the CW did not know whether s/he could come up

with the money.    The CW called MENG later that day and told MENG

that s/he did not want MENG’s help.      MENG called the CW back that

same day to tell the CW that for $120,000, MENG could guarantee

that the CW would receive no jail time.

CW’s Consensual Recordings3

           5.     After the December 19, 2011 meeting with MENG, the

CW began cooperating with the FBI.      In connection with his/her

cooperation, the CW agreed to allow the FBI to record his/her

conversations with MENG.

2
     The FBI’s investigation has uncovered no evidence that Meng
has contacted any ADAs in an effort to bribe them, or that anyone
in the Manhattan DA’s office has been working with Meng. Rather,
your deponent respectfully submits, as set forth herein, that
there is probable cause to believe that Meng intended to defraud
the CW and keep the bribe money for himself.
3
     All recorded conversations between the CW and MENG were
conducted in Mandarin and subsequently translated into English by
law enforcement authorities. Quoted excerpts of consensual
recordings are based on draft translations and are subject to
revision. Where specific conversations are described, they are
set forth in part and in substance.

                                    4
           6.   From approximately December 23, 2011 to January 2,

2012, the CW was in Florida with his/her family.        On or about

December 29, 2011, the CW, acting at the direction of the FBI,

placed a consensually recorded telephone call to MENG in Queens.

During that call, MENG told the CW that he had checked on the

CW’s case and the CW was facing six to nine years in prison as

opposed to the two to six years the CW had told MENG earlier.           At

that point, MENG told the CW that they should not be talking

about the matter over the telephone and that the CW should visit

him when the CW returned from Florida.

           7.   On or about January 3, 2012, the CW, at the

direction of the FBI, met with MENG at MENG’s lumber yard.         The

CW was equipped with a recording device that had been provided to

the CW by the FBI.   During the recorded conversation, MENG told

the CW that if the CW received a sentence of more than two years

in jail, MENG would return the CW’s money except for a $2000

errand fee: “I’ll be responsible.        If didn’t get it done for you,

right?   Over three years, right?       Over two years, right?   Then

just charge you $2000 –- $2000 for running errands and the rest

–- I take responsibility -– will be returned to you completely.

I take responsibility.”   Later in the conversation, he again

stated, “If you –- he sentenced you to more than two years, this

money -– let me tell you -– I promise to give back to you.”

                                    5
           8.   During this conversation, MENG instructed the CW

to gather $80,000 in cash and put it in a fruit basket and then

MENG would send an individual to collect the money from the CW:

“You can also pack a bag of fruit.     Put in there $80,000....

Right.   It’s a non-Chinese.    You just pack up some fruits and

place some money in there.     He won’t touch it.   Suppose

he...packed inside right?–they take it as a Christmas gift...this

is very normal.”

           9.   Further, MENG told the CW that several ADAs were

staffed on the CW’s case and that in order for the scheme to be

successful, the ADAs assigned to the case had to agree on the

resolution of the CW’s case: “If more than two years, still like

this, that’s because the other two people won’t compromise.”

MENG later stated, “[B]ut this door of yours cannot open....       We

want to open it for you, open your case.4    You know what the

first step in opening it is–postponement.     With postponement, we

talk with the government, let...the prosecutors convince each

other....”




4
     All italicized words were spoken in English, rather than
Mandarin.

                                   6
          10.   MENG also explained that he had already initiated

contact with the ADAs: “I’ve already dined with them four or five

times and talked about your case, because you know what, they

have between them -– I can’t sit them together.”

          11.   Additionally, during the January 3rd meeting, the

CW mentioned that s/he had previously spoken to an attorney who

had wanted $150,000 to represent the CW.   MENG responded, “to put

it frankly, [he] is probably taking similar routes to mine.   That

is he gets really very little money.   He mainly touches this side

and internal connections with the prosecutor.   We now –- frankly

-– speaking are also taking this route.”   MENG also told the CW

that s/he had to keep MENG’s involvement in the scheme secret.

According to MENG, “you can never say in the future that Jimmy

Meng helped me find people.”

          12.   On or about January 5, 2012, the CW, at the

direction of the FBI, met with MENG in Queens and wore a

recording device that had been provided by the FBI.    During that

meeting, the CW asked MENG, “You said that there are three

prosecutors, or four, how much for each prosecutor?”   At the end

of the conversation, in response to this question and others,

MENG told the CW, “[a]ltogether, there are four to five people

helping you.”   In addition, the CW told MENG that s/he needed

time to get the money together and explained, “I have to try my

                                 7
best to raise the money.”    MENG cautioned the CW, “never talk

about money over the phone.”

          13.     On or about February 9, 2012, the CW, at the

direction of the FBI, met with MENG in a parking lot in Queens

and recorded their conversation.       MENG told the CW that MENG had

been working on the CW’s behalf this past month and “took someone

for dinner three or four times...each time, it cost me a few

hundred dollars.”    MENG later discussed the bribe money for the

prosecutors and the fact that the prosecutor who had

refused to negotiate with the CW’s attorney must receive bribe

money:

          MENG:             There are six assistant prosecutors
                            and one prosecutor. You have to
                            remember this. Why? As you know,
                            there are so many indictments and
                            cases, it is impossible for one
                            prosecutor to handle all of them.

          CW:               Six assistant prosecutors?

          MENG:             Usually. They are known as
                            prosecutors. Normally they are
                            known as DA. They are known as DA.
                            However, you may show up today, and
                            I will show up next time. Then, it
                            will be rotated. Whoever shows
                            up, he will be the one to do the
                            case. Whoever comes to meet you,
                            he or she will be your prosecutor.




                                   8
            CW:               Since I kept on asking my attorney
                              that who is the toughest one to
                              deal with. He told me that he was
                              the toughest one to deal with.5

            MENG:             Of course he is the spokesman. He
                              is the spokesman. He is the one in
                              the court to communicate with the
                              judge.

            CW:               Then...

            MENG:             [VO]6...he is the only one.

            CW:               Then, let us take care of him, and
                              the rest...

            MENG:             Yes. Right, right, right. That’s
                              it. That’s it.

            14.     During this same meeting, MENG reiterated that the

CW’s money would be paid to the prosecutors and that if the CW

received more than two years in prison the CW’s money would be

refunded.

            MENG:             This kind of bribery...

            CW:               [VO]...I am telling you...

            MENG:             [VO] ...you will lose nothing.   Is
                              that right?

            CW:               [UI]


5
     The CW stated that s/he was referring to the ADA whom the CW
believed had refused to negotiate with his/her lawyer for a
lesser sentence.
6
     The abbreviation “VO” stands for “voice over” and indicates
that both parties to the conversation were speaking at the same
time.

                                        9
          MENG:             I will refund it and, anyway, I am
                            telling you, I will be responsible
                            for it.

          CW:               I am saying, didn’t you tell me
                            that the money is for them? Then,
                            the main issue is,...this.

          MENG:             Not like that. It is for them.
                            Right. But it is not for him
                            alone. You have nothing to lose...

          15.     On or about February 23, 2012, the CW placed a

consensually recorded telephone call to MENG.    During this call,

MENG mentioned that he would be traveling out of the country in

May, but told the CW, “I will give you...instructions on what you

have to do before I leave.”

          16.     During that call, MENG also told the CW that the

ADAs were upset that the CW had complained to MENG that the CW

had no money.   According to MENG:

                  [T]hey were upset when they heard what I told
                  them, and they even felt sorry for me. I
                  said, he just, I said...I have told them what
                  you told me. So he said, ‘[i]f so, why do
                  you have to help him? As for this kind of
                  people, just leave him alone! He is able to
                  pay much more than $80,000, and he is even
                  able to pay $800,000.’ Certainly they found
                  out everything about you. Your cash flow,
                  how and where your account is transferred and
                  your company, they know everything clearly.
                  Don’t you think they know nothing about it.
                  And I was shocked at hearing this. They know
                  it entirely.




                                  10
           17.   Later in the conversation, MENG told the CW about

a particular ADA:

                 There is one who really hates you. He claims
                 that he has all the information about you.
                 But you claimed that you have no money. Your
                 statement really made him upset and turned
                 around against you. He claimed that some day
                 in the future, he would expose all your dirt
                 and go after you.

           18.   MENG also warned the CW not to tell his/her lawyer

about the purported bribery scheme:

                 If something goes wrong, my life will become
                 miserable. They will go after me if
                 something happens...We only help one person
                 or two, but if they think we are doing a
                 business, they will start to investigate it
                 all the way from above, if they are
                 investigated, they may lose their jobs for
                 the few bucks of yours. Not only that, they
                 may be jailed for life. The risk doesn’t
                 match the potential gain.

           19.   On or about July 16, 2012, the CW placed a

consensually recorded telephone call to MENG the day before the

CW was due to appear at a status conference in state court.     MENG

told the CW that progress had been made on his/her case and

instructed CW to prepare the money.   MENG also told the CW that

he would be contacting the “people on the other side” — the ADAs

—   and reminded the CW not to tell the CW’s lawyer about what

MENG was doing for the CW.




                                 11
MENG:   Hey. You don’t have to pay attention to
        anything else, just go with your attorney
        tomorrow. Okay?

CW:     Okay.

MENG:   And, it has been changed, we have to...we
        will let them to make changes if we are not
        satisfied. And, you should take that...the
        money, get it ready before this
        weekend...that, that, that...money.

CW:     I see.

MENG:   Take it out. Is that right? If there is any
        problem...If we are unable to do it, such as
        the probation, they will [UI]...

CW:     No problem. I , I, I have it ready.
        However...[VO]

MENG:   [VO] I know, I know...[VO]

CW:     [VO]...whatever you want me to do...[VO]

MENG:   [VO]...just give it to me this week...

CW:     [VO]..you told me that someone could call me,
        but you didn’t call me...[vo]

MENG:   [VO]...no, I just want to tell you, it has
        made some progresses absolutely, absolutely.
        Otherwise, they would never make such as
        demand.
                  * * *

MENG:   Okay. Call me after your hearing.     Is that
        right?

CW:     Right, right.

MENG:   I will contact people on the other side.



                   12
           CW:          Okay.

           MENG:        You don’t have to care about what your
                        attorney is going to say. He knows nothing
                        about it. And you are not supposed to tell
                        him about it. Do you understand? Okay? Is
                        that right?

           20.     On or about July 17, 2012, the CW called MENG

after the CW’s status conference in state court.     MENG told the

CW to prepare $80,000 and deliver it to MENG’s lumber yard.        MENG

told the CW that he would deliver the money to the ADAs stating,

“give it to me and I will give it to them.”

           21.     MENG cautioned the CW that the ADAs could not

guarantee that the CW would receive a favorable sentence because

the judge could reject the plea deal between the parties.       He

stated, “Someone turns out to be your major prosecutor...however,

even if he brings something out, the judge may not have to accept

it.”

           22.     On or about July 22, 2012, the CW placed a

consensually recorded telephone call to MENG.     After the CW

informed MENG that the CW was out of town and would be returning

Tuesday, MENG instructed the CW to meet MENG at his lumberyard on

Tuesday.   MENG further instructed the CW not to talk about the

bribe money over the telephone.




                                   13
          23.   On July 24, 2012, the CW drove to the vicinity of

MENG’s lumberyard in Queens.    Upon arrival, MENG met the CW at

the CW’s vehicle outside the lumberyard.    Shortly after MENG

arrived at the vehicle, the CW opened the trunk and MENG removed

a fruit basket containing thousands of dollars.    At that time,

federal agents arrested MENG.

          24.   Based on my training, experience and the evidence

obtained through the investigation, there is probable cause to

believe that the defendant JIMMY MENG intended to defraud the CW

of $80,000 and keep all or part of the money for himself.

          WHEREFORE, your deponent respectfully requests that the

defendant JIMMY MENG be dealt with according to law.




                                 AMY M. HIRINA
                                 Special Agent
                                 Federal Bureau of Investigation


Sworn to before me this
24th day of July, 2012


______________________________
HONORABLE JOAN M. AZRACK
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK




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