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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
December 22, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice “12 Most Wanted” Fugitive Returned to Atlantic County to Face Trial on Charges of Laundering $250,000 in Stolen Money at Atlantic City Casino

TRENTON - New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that a Division of Criminal Justice “12 Most Wanted” fugitive has been returned to the State of New Jersey to face trial on charges of laundering more than $250,000 in stolen funds through an Atlantic City casino.

Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, said that Robert Short, 38, formerly of North First Street, Arlington, VA, was extradited to New Jersey and returned to the Atlantic County Jail by State Investigators assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice yesterday (Wed., Dec. 21). Short remains in custody in the Atlantic County Jail and is scheduled to appear in Atlantic County Superior Court on Jan. 5 for arraignment and bail.

Director McKoy noted that Short, listed as a Division of Criminal Justice “12 Most Wanted” fugitive, was arrested on March 3, 2005, at a Washington D.C. airport while attempting to re-enter the United States from Brazil. The arrest ended the 16-month fugitive status of the Virginia lawyer, charged via a Nov. 25, 2003 State Grand Jury indictment with laundering more than $250,000 in stolen money through an Atlantic City casino. The charges, which include second degree money laundering, resulted from the theft of more than $436,000 from a Virginia law firm. Short faces up to ten years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000 if convicted on both counts of the criminal indictment.

McKoy noted that on Feb. 19, America’s Most Wanted television program aired a segment which featured Short and his flight to avoid justice. As a result of the national television program, the Division of Criminal Justice - Casino Prosecutions Bureau received information that Short was returning to the United States from Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 3. Short was arrested by Dulles Airport Police and U.S. Customs authorities as he attempted to re-enter the country after disembarking from a United Airlines flight. Short was initially taken to the Fairfax County (VA) jail where he was held pending extradition to New Jersey.

The State Grand Jury indictment charged that on Feb. 21, 2003, Short wired $250,000 from a personal checking account to the Taj Mahal Casino. On Feb. 22, it is alleged that Short arrived at the Taj Mahal Casino and withdrew a $10,000 casino marker. The investigation determined that Short gambled briefly at roulette and, after losing approximately $1,000, withdrew the remaining $240,000 from the casino. The investigation revealed that Short had no gambling history at the Taj Mahal Casino and, given the minimal gaming activity, casino authorities notified the Division of Gaming Enforcement of the suspicious activity.

On March 4, 2003, law enforcement officials from the Thomas County Sheriffs Office in Colby, Kansas, contacted the Division of Gaming Enforcement - State Police Casino Investigation Bureau regarding Short. On Feb. 26, Short’s vehicle was stopped by Colby County Sheriffs Officers patrolling I-70. The subsequent investigation by the Thomas County Sheriffs office uncovered a quantity of marijuana, hashish, a semi-automatic handgun, and $207,000 in cash in Short’s vehicle. Short was arrested and charged with possession of illegal drugs and weapons violations. Short was released from custody on Feb. 27. The investigation next uncovered information that Short, a lawyer and former employee of the Law Office of Trapeni, Romero & Morrison in Fairfax County, VA, was wanted in VA on charges of forgery and theft. It is alleged that Short stole $436,000 from the Trapeni law firm.

The investigation was coordinated by the Division of Criminal Justice - Casino Prosecutions Bureau, the Division of Gaming Enforcement and State Police Det. James Pearson. Deputy Attorney General Kerry L. Menchen of the Division of Criminal Justice - Casino Prosecution Bureau presented the case to the State Grand Jury. The indictment, handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Neil H. Shuster on Nov. 21, is assigned to the Atlantic County Superior Court for trial. Additional investigative support was received from the Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino.

Additional information, including a copy of the State Grand Jury indictment, defendant photograph, and information on the Fugitive Tip Line, is available via the Division of Criminal Justice Web site at www.njdcj.org.

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