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#2011R02156 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - X UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - against 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, COMPLAINT (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
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 The facts set forth in this affidavit
approximately seven years.
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
The CW is cooperating with the federal government in hopes of receiving a benefit in his/her pending state case. On July 2
The CW informed the FBI that following his
(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
On or about December 19, 2011, MENG met with During that meeting, MENG
the CW again at MENG’s lumber yard.
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 MENG called the CW back that
that s/he did not want MENG’s help.
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 In connection with his/her
CW began cooperating with the FBI.
cooperation, the CW agreed to allow the FBI to record his/her conversations with MENG.
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.
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
From approximately December 23, 2011 to January 2, On or about
2012, the CW was in Florida with his/her family.
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. 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 The At
direction of the FBI, met with MENG at MENG’s lumber yard.
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. right? Over three years, right? If didn’t get it done for you, 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
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. Right. It’s a non-Chinese. Put in there $80,000....
You just pack up some fruits and He won’t touch it. Suppose
place some money in there.
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.... want to open it for you, open your case.4 first step in opening it is–postponement. You know what the With postponement, we We
talk with the government, let...the prosecutors convince each other....”
All italicized words were spoken in English, rather than Mandarin. 6
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 That
it frankly, [he] is probably taking similar routes to mine. is he gets really very little money.
He mainly touches this side We now –- frankly
and internal connections with the prosecutor. -– 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. Six assistant prosecutors? 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.
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 Of course he is the spokesman. He is the spokesman. He is the one in the court to communicate with the judge. Then... [VO]6...he is the only one. Then, let us take care of him, and the rest... Yes. Right, right, right. That’s it. That’s it. During this same meeting, MENG reiterated that the
CW: MENG: CW:
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: CW: MENG: This kind of bribery... [VO]...I am telling you... [VO] ...you will lose nothing. that right? [UI] Is
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.
The abbreviation “VO” stands for “voice over” and indicates that both parties to the conversation were speaking at the same time. 9
I will refund it and, anyway, I am telling you, I will be responsible for it. I am saying, didn’t you tell me that the money is for them? Then, the main issue is,...this. Not like that. It is for them. Right. But it is not for him alone. You have nothing to lose... On or about February 23, 2012, the CW placed a During this call,
consensually recorded telephone call to MENG.
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.
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. 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 MENG
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.
Hey. You don’t have to pay attention to anything else, just go with your attorney tomorrow. Okay? Okay. 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. I see. 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]... No problem. I , I, I have it ready. However...[VO] [VO] I know, I know...[VO] [VO]...whatever you want me to do...[VO] [VO]...just give it to me this week... [VO]..you told me that someone could call me, but you didn’t call me...[vo] [VO]...no, I just want to tell you, it has made some progresses absolutely, absolutely. Otherwise, they would never make such as demand. * * * Okay. Call me after your hearing. right? Right, right. I will contact people on the other side. Is that
MENG: CW: MENG: CW:
Okay. 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? On or about July 17, 2012, the CW called MENG MENG told the MENG
after the CW’s status conference in state court.
CW to prepare $80,000 and deliver it to MENG’s lumber yard.
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 After the CW
consensually recorded telephone call to MENG.
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.
On July 24, 2012, the CW drove to the vicinity of Upon arrival, MENG met the CW at Shortly after MENG
MENG’s lumberyard in Queens.
the CW’s vehicle outside the lumberyard.
arrived at the vehicle, the CW opened the trunk and MENG removed a fruit basket containing thousands of dollars. federal agents arrested MENG. 24. Based on my training, experience and the evidence At that time,
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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