Where’s the money? That’s what authorities still would like to know.
FBI Agent Jerry Nau, 44, of Peoria, Ill. pleaded guilty Wednesday in Urbana, Ill. to lying about the whereabouts of $43,643 seized during a drug investigation in November 2008 by a multi-county task force he was part of, according to the Peoria Journal Star. He is currently on unpaid leave.
The paper reported that Nau didn’t admit to taking the money, and said he didn’t know where the money went.
The plea agreement stated that Nau was to bring back the cash from the task force to the FBI evidence vault. After the conviction in the drug case in 2009, FBI agents looked for the money but couldn’t find it.
On June 30, 2010, Nau falsely told his superiors the money was in the task force evidence vault and faxed to the FBI’s Springfield office a receipt showing it was there, the Journal Star reported.
He then lied when he said two officers came with him and saw the cash. He also told Justice Dept. officials that he had brought the money back to the FBI Peoria office, but failed to log it properly, the paper reported. He said he then checked the vault and saw the money was missing.
The paper reported that his agreement says he “panicked” when he didn’t know where the money was and “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, according to the paper. The Indiana office handled the prosecution. “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.”
Sentencing is set for Nov. 29 in Peoria. He faces up to five years in prison.
His attorney Jeff Flanagan did not return a call to the Star Journal for comment.