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Peoria-based FBI agent pleads guilty to lying about missing cash

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

Peoria, IL

A Peoria-based FBI special agent pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying about the whereabouts of more than $43,000 seized during a drug investigation.

Jerry Nau, an FBI agent since 1999, waived indictment by a federal grand jury and pleaded in U.S. District Court in Urbana to one count of making and using a false document. The case, heard by Peoria-based U.S. District Judge James Shadid, was held in Urbana likely to accommodate prosecutors from Indiana who handled the case given Nau's close ties to federal prosecutors in Peoria.

In his plea agreement, Nau, 44, of Peoria, didn't admit to taking the $43,643 seized during the investigation of a drug ring headed by Adrian Robinson, who received a life sentence last year. Rather, Nau, who worked with the Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group at the time, says he didn't know what happened to the money seized from Robinson in November 2008.

The agreement states he went to the MEG office and was to bring it back to the FBI evidence vault. After Robinson's 2009 conviction, other agents looked for the money which they could now claim under drug forfeiture laws. It wasn't there.

On June 30, 2010, Nau told his superiors the money was in the MEG evidence vault and faxed to the FBI's Springfield office a receipt showing it was there.

An investigation showed that wasn't true. The agreement states Nau lied when he said two officers came with him and saw the money. When interviewed by Department of Justice officials, Nau said he had brought the money back to the FBI office in Peoria but didn't properly log it. Later, he checked the vault and found the money missing.

His agreement states he "panicked" and didn't know what to do. Nau told officials "he simply hoped the money would turn up." He denied taking any money.

"The United States believes it is very serious when a federal law enforcement officer makes a false statement regarding evidence in a federal criminal case," said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden from the U.S. Attorney's Office for Indiana's Southern District. "When asked to produce it, he failed to do so, was unable to do so and then made false statements about the status of the money.

"Where that money is now, only Mr. Nau and God know and he (Nau) isn't saying other than he has misplaced it."

Nau's sentencing is set for Nov. 29 in Peoria before Shadid, He faces up to five years in prison. It wasn't clear if Nau was eligible for probation.

A call to his attorney, Jeff Flanagan, wasn't returned. Nau is currently on unpaid leave from the FBI.

Nau is a longtime federal agent who has worked on dozens of cases, mostly related to drugs and guns. Nau has worked on such cases as the drug ring headed by Carlos Williams, who was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for moving large amounts of cocaine through central Illinois. He served as the coordinator of the Peoria Area Safe Streets Task Force. In 2009, he received a Distinguished Service citation from the Peoria Police Department.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or .

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