Mystery of the missing money: FBI befuddled by disappearance of $43,643
A veteran FBI agent in Illinois has been sentenced to serve five months in prison for lying about the disappearance of over $43,000. Interestingly, he was not accused of stealing the money.
A former FBI agent in Illinois has been sentenced to serve five months in prison after pleading guilty to submitting a false evidence inventory receipt for more than $43,000 in seized drug money that somehow went missing and has never been recovered.Skip to next paragraph
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US District Judge James Shaddid handed down the sentence Tuesday.
The case is interesting because despite an extensive internal Justice Department investigation and the involvement of a small army of local and federal investigators, Mr. Nau was only charged with submitting a false document. There is no formal allegation – or finding – that he had lost, misapplied, or stolen the funds.
And yet the money is gone.
Nau was a career law enforcement officer, having spent nearly 20 years in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Marshals Service.
At the time of his arrest, Nau had $15,000 in credit card debt, an $800-a-month alimony obligation, and three dependant daughters, one of whom is unmarried and expecting a child, according to court documents.
The missing $43,000 had been seized from Adrain Robinson, a major cocaine dealer in Peoria, who is currently serving a life prison sentence following his 2009 conviction. Nau was the case agent responsible for Mr. Robinson’s conviction.
Most of the money was found in a basement heating duct in Robinson’s home during a court-authorized search. Agents found $3,733 in cash on Robinson when he was taken into custody.
Questions about the missing money arose months before Robinson’s October 2009 trial. In August, Nau told federal prosecutors that the $43,000 had been administratively forfeited and was no longer available as evidence, according to court files.
During the trial, Nau testified that the confiscated money had been put into a seizure fund account, court files say.
Later that month, after Robinson’s conviction, Nau advised a Peoria drug task force official that the funds had been moved to the FBI, prosecutors say.
In January 2010, FBI officials asked Nau about the cash. He assured them he was “taking care of that right now,” according to court documents.
A federal judge issued the final order of forfeiture for the $43,643 in May 2010, but the whereabouts of the cash itself was still a mystery.
In June 2010, Nau told his FBI supervisor that he had verified with Peoria law enforcement officials that the money was with them, prosecutors say.