A businessman told police that he was the victim of a robbery in 2013 and asked them to recover the 22 stolen gold bars. Four bars were found a decade later in Menendez’s home.
At least four gold bars found in the FBI search of Sen. Bob Menendez’s home had been directly linked to a New Jersey businessman now accused of bribing Menendez, the state’s senior senator, Bergen County prosecutor’s records from a 2013 robbery case show.
The businessman, Fred Daibes, reported to police that he was the victim of an armed robbery in 2013, and he asked police to recover the gold bars stolen from him. Daibes reported that $500,000 in cash and 22 gold bars were stolen, Edgewater, New Jersey, police records show. Police later caught four people with the stolen goods.
“All of this spells bad news for Sen. Menendez, because the chain of custody — it appears — is going to be really easy to prove up,” NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos said.
It was November 2013 when Daibes, a millionaire developer, told police that he had been the victim of a gunpoint robbery in his penthouse apartment in Edgewater. He said he was tied to a chair as the thieves made off with cash, gold and jewelry.
The four suspects were quickly caught and later pleaded guilty. Daibes attended court proceedings as the victim. On Dec. 13, 2013, Daibes signed documents to get his property back, including the gold bars.
To get his property back, Daibes signed “property release forms” certifying the gold bars belonged to him, the records show.
“Each gold bar has its own serial number,” Daibes told investigators in a 2013 transcript made by prosecutors and police who recovered — and returned to Daibes — the stolen valuables. “They’re all stamped…you’ll never see two stamped the same way.”
A decade later, it said, the FBI found four gold bars with unique serial numbers in the Clifton, New Jersey, home of Menendez and his wife, Nadine.
In the bribery indictment against Menendez and Daibes this year, prosecutors included photos of some of the alleged bribes found in Menendez’s home, including four gold bars. The serial numbers of the four gold bars in the bribery indictment appear to be exact matches to four of the gold bars Daibes certified as having been stolen and returned to him in the 2013 robbery case.
For example, a Swiss Bank Corp. gold bar with serial number 590005 that the FBI said it seized from Menendez’s home in a search this year had also been reported stolen by Daibes — and returned to him — a decade earlier. Daibes’ signature and initials appear on the evidence log, which included each specific gold bar with its corresponding serial number.