Gold bars in Bob Menendez indictment linked to 2013 robbery

December 5, 2023

At least four gold bars found amid an FBI search of the home of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) have been linked to a 2013 robbery, police records show.

The gold bars taken from Menendez home by the feds were among 22 reported stolen by businessman Fred Daibes, who told police he was a victim of armed robbery back in 2013. 

A decade later, the FBI said it found four gold bars matching unique serial numbers reported by Daibes in the New Jersey home of Sen. Menendez and his wife, Nadine. 

In September the couple were indicted on corruption and bribery charges, to which they’ve each pleaded not guilty. The Senator also pleaded not guilty to a superseding indictment in October on charges that allege he conspired to act as a foreign agent.

The Menendezes are accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for political influence.

Prosecutors said the bribes included the confiscated gold bars as well as cash, home mortgage payments, a luxury vehicle and compensation for a “low-or-no-show job”—Nadine Menendez was allegedly put on the payroll of New Jersey businessman Wael “Will” Hana, according to the indictment.

Hana, Daibes and another businessmen, Jose Uribe, have all pleaded not guilty to charges in the case as well. 

In the 2013 robbery, Daibes reported $500,000 stolen along with the 22 gold bars were stolen, according to Edgewater, New Jersey police records. Police later caught four suspects with the stolen goods; all four pleaded guilty.

To get his property back, Daibes signed “property release forms” certifying the gold bars belonged to him, the records show.

“All of this spells bad news for Senator Menendez because the chain of custody—it appears—is going to be really easy to prove up,” said NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos, though he added that prosecutors must prove a “quid pro quo” to successfully prosecute the crime of bribery—even if Daibes did give the gold bars to Mendendez.

The FBI asserts that the quid pro quo between Menendez and Daibes included efforts by the Senator to influence the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office in 2018 while it was investigating Daibes for a separate crime of bank fraud.

Dozens of  Democratic Senators have called on Menendez to leave office, including fellow New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker.

Menendez has stepped back from his position as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but while defending his presumption of innocence, Menendez has insisted he won’t resign from the his seat altogether.

PHOTO: Gold bars found in Menendez home, per indictment

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