Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that a Queens businessman mastermind the 2019 murder of a former employee who founded a rival real estate renovation company.
Cheng Mingyu, 54, was arrested at his stately Long Island home Tuesday in the murder of his former star employee, Shen Ju, 31, who was shot dead early on February 12, 2019, as he was leaving a Flushing karaoke bar. Earlier that night, New Gu had thrown a big party to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
“He was only 31 years old. I wish it was me who would suffer, not my son,” said Zhou’s mother, Ying Shuo, outside a Brooklyn federal courtroom.
“It’s a disaster,” she said through a Mandarin translator.
Joe worked for about three years under U at Amaco, the U.S.-based Manhattan real estate renovation company.
Prosecutors said that in 2018 he decided to strike alone in the industry because he was underpaid and worried about Amaco’s financial future.
Gu’s strong reputation has led to many customers abandoning their contracts with Amaco and signing up instead to work with the new Gu company – much to the chagrin of Yu, the feds say.
Prosecutors said Yu lost a project to Gu that was expected to bring in $1 million in profit.
“I treat him so much better than my son. I can’t believe it,” Yu allegedly texted an aide after losing the hefty money contract. “I also feel bad because I trust him so much.”
Yu Corporation closed later that year.
To get revenge, Yu hired his nephew, You You, 34, who was also an Amaco employee, to carry out the murder.
You brought two more people into the plot. Prosecutors said Anthony Abreu, 34, was named as an operating man, and Zhe Zhang, 34, was named as the smuggler’s driver.
On the night of the murder, 100 people attended the Lunar New Year’s Gu party in Flushing. After that, Gu attended a later party at a karaoke bar.
Outside parties, I waited in a truck, and Zhang and Abreu were waiting in a 2003 Honda Accord.
When Gu left the karaoke party and was about to get into an Uber around 2:30 AM, Abreu – wearing a puffy jacket with a hood – ran after him and executed him, firing several shots at close range, prosecutors said.
The murder was captured in surveillance footage released by the New York Police Department shortly after the incident.
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“The defendants brutally used gun violence to resolve a commercial dispute, reducing the value of a man’s life to a mere dollar,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Bron Pace.
Yu, You, Abreu, and Zhang are charged with pay-murder and conspiracy to pay-murder and face life imprisonment or death in the case.
Yu – who owns at least four properties in New York City – was arrested in his eight-bedroom mansion in Oyster Bay. Prosecutors said that when federal forces arrested Yu, they also found a cache of weapons, including two rifles, an AR-15 and an AK-47.
You were arrested in Plainview, Lee, and Zhang was arrested at a home in California.
Triggerman Abreu is already serving a 24-year sentence for a Mississippi drug smuggling case.
Assistant US Attorney Devon Lash said in court on Tuesday that the federal government has at least one cooperating witness in the case.
Brooklyn Federal District Judge Peggy Koo has ordered that you and you be held without bail.