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Former FBI agent gets prison term for lying about missing money

Peoria Journal Star,
BYLINE: ANDY KRAVETZ () of the Journal Star
Link to Article

Peoria, IL

PEORIA — A former FBI agent was sentenced Tuesday to five months in prison for lying to his superiors about $43,643 that came up missing during a drug investigation two years ago.

Jerry Nau, who worked as a U.S. marshal and with the FBI since 1992, apologized for his actions, saying there wasn't a single day he didn't regret what happened.

"I worked my whole life to be a supervisory special agent. Everything I have worked for is gone," he said, taking deep breaths and leaning on the lectern. "But I am not a quitter. I will rebuild myself."

Nau, 44, a 1985 Limestone Community High School graduate, apologized to his former colleagues, more than two dozen of whom filled the rear of the courtroom.

"It is a sad day when an agent of the FBI may be sentenced to prison, but it would be even sadder if law enforcement were not held accountable when they themselves engage in criminal behavior," said U.S. District Judge James Shadid.

The sentence included a five-month period of home confinement and required restitution of $43,645.

And in an unusual move, Shadid ordered Nau taken into custody immediately. White-collar offenders often are allowed to voluntarily surrender a few weeks later, but not Nau, who removed his gold tie, said his goodbyes and walked out with U.S. marshals behind him.

That said, federal prosecutors sent a clear message.

"(Nau) is not just a white-collar criminal who's going to get to go home to celebrate Christmas and then report to prison," said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden, a prosecutor from Indiana assigned to the case given Nau's ties to federal prosecutors in Peoria.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Flanagan told Shadid that Nau's actions were an anomaly. He pointed to his client's complete lack of criminal history and nearly 20 years of service to the United States as evidence Nau deserved probation.

But prosecutors sought a prison term of about a year. Shadid admitted his sentence would likely have detractors on both sides but said it took into account the crime as well as Nau's past.

Nau pleaded guilty in August to one count of making and using a false document. He faced up to five years in prison, though given his lack of any criminal history, that was highly unlikely.

Nau's plea agreement states he "panicked" and didn't know what to do. Nau told officials "he simply hoped the money would turn up."

He wasn't charged with taking the money and has said he didn't. Warden told the judge Nau's story about panicking was "incredible."

"What happened is, he stole the money, and perhaps he planned to cover that deception up with his own money," he said.

The money was from the investigation of Adrian Robinson, who was sentenced to life in prison last year. Nau testified at trial the money was in an evidence vault when, in fact, it was already missing.

The charge stemmed from a June 30, 2010, fax where Nau told his bosses the money was in the vault and sent them a receipt and forged the signatures of two other agents.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or .

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