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.
On July 1, 2010, Nau faxed an evidence inventory and receipt form to his FBI supervisor. It said the missing money had been recounted and placed into evidence. The form included signatures from two other law enforcement officials.
The problem was that the signatures turned out to be forgeries – and the money was still nowhere to be found.
By September 2010, the Justice Department Inspector General’s office entered the fray. Nau told them the money had been held at the Peoria FBI office, but when he went to recover it for the Robinson trial he discovered it was gone.
He said he panicked and then lied to the prosecutor about the whereabouts of the cash. He told the Inspector General agents that he was hopeful the money would “show up.”