- Attorney General Zulima V. Farber announced
that a Division of Criminal Justice “12
Most Wanted” fugitive has pleaded
guilty in Atlantic County Superior Court
to laundering more than $250,000 in stolen
monies through an Atlantic City casino.
According to the Division of Criminal
Justice - Casino Prosecutions Bureau,
Robert Short, 38, formerly of North First
Street, Arlington, VA, pleaded guilty
before Atlantic County Superior Court
Judge Michael Connor to a charge of second
degree money laundering. The Feb. 2 guilty
plea calls for a sentence of four years
in New Jersey state prison. Sentencing
is scheduled for April 7.
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, 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, 2003, 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.
Short was arrested and charged with possession
of illegal drugs and weapons violations.
Short was released from custody on Feb.
27, 2003. 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 of nearly $500,000 from the
Trapeni law firm and from personal clients.
Short was subsequently convicted and sentenced
on the VA charges.
Short was listed as a Division of Criminal
Justice “12 Most Wanted Fugitive”
on Nov. 21, 2003. On Feb. 19, 2004, America’s
Most Wanted 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, 2005. Short was arrested by
Dulles Airport Police and U.S. Customs
authorities as he attempted to re-enter
the country. The arrest ended the 16-month
Ted Grove, Bureau Chief, Casino Prosecutions
Bureau, said “this investigation
and prosecution uncovered a significant
money laundering activity that was stopped
at the very outset. Anyone who violates
the strict rules governing financial transactions
in New Jersey’s gaming industry
by attempting to launder stolen monies
through Atlantic City casinos will be
identified, arrested and prosecuted.”
The prosecution was coordinated by Deputy
Attorney General Kerry L. Menchen of the
Division of Criminal Justice - Casino
Prosecution Bureau. The investigation
was conducted by New Jersey State Police
Det. James Pearson assigned to the Division
of Gaming Enforcement. Additional investigative
support was received from the Taj Mahal
Hotel & Casino.
Additional information, including a copy
of the State Grand Jury indictment and
defendant photograph is available via
the Division of Criminal Justice Web site