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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
March 3, 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 Nabbed at Washington D.C. Airport

Virginia Lawyer Charged with Laundering $250,000 in Stolen Money at Atlantic City Casino...

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that a New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice “12 Most Wanted” fugitive was arrested early today 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 a Virginia lawyer charged with laundering more than $250,000 in stolen funds 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.

Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Thomas Auriemma, Director, Division of Gaming Enforcement, said that Robert Short, 38, formerly of North First Street, Arlington, VA, had been charged via a State Grand Jury indictment with money laundering and receiving stolen property. 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 Short was listed as a Division of Criminal Justice “12 Most Wanted Fugitive” on Nov. 21, 2003. On Feb. 19, the 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 taken to the Fairfax County (VA) jail where he will be held pending extradition to New Jersey. Short also faces theft and related charges in VA.

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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