In a compelling development stemming from an FBI raid conducted last year, a portion of the gold bars found in the residence of embattled Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) have been identified as those stolen in a high-profile 2013 robbery.
In September, Sen. Bob Menendez, the senior U.S. Senator from New Jersey and the former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were indicted on bribery and corruption charges.
In October, Bob Menendez was charged with acting as a foreign agent in a superseding indictment.
Bob Menendez and his wife are under investigation for their involvement in a bribery scheme from 2018 to 2022. The couple, who began dating in February 2018 and married in October 2020, are alleged to have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.
The bribes came from Wael Hana, an Egyptian native with connections to Egyptian officials, Fred Daibes, a New Jersey real estate developer and long-time donor to Senator Menendez, and Jose Uribe, involved in the New Jersey insurance and trucking business.
The range of bribes included gold, cash, a luxury convertible, and significant payments towards Nadine Menendez’s home mortgage.
In June 2022, a significant development occurred when the FBI executed a raid at the Menendez residence in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey,. This operation uncovered many elements of the bribery scheme.
According to the DOJ, over $480,000 in cash, much of it concealed in envelopes and hidden in various parts of the house, including clothing and closets, was discovered. A safe in the house contained additional cash and valuables. Over $70,000 in cash was found in Nadine Menendez’s safe deposit box during a separate search.
Some of the envelopes recovered bore the fingerprints and/or DNA of Fred Daibes or his driver, further linking them to the scheme. Other envelopes with Senator Menendez’s name were found in jackets hanging in his closet.
One of the most significant discoveries was over one hundred thousand dollars’ worth of gold bars located within the home. According to reports, 13 gold bars were found.
According to a report by NBC News, the serial numbers on the gold bars correspond with those reported stolen from Fred Daibes during an armed robbery in Edgewater, New Jersey, nearly a decade ago.
For instance, one particular gold bar, produced by Swiss Bank Corporation and carrying the serial number 590005, was identified among the items seized from Menendez’s home during this year’s FBI raid.
This same gold bar had been listed as stolen and later returned to Daibes in 2013. The evidence logs from the earlier incident, bearing Daibes’ signature and initials, meticulously cataloged each gold bar, including their individual serial numbers, thereby linking them to the current investigation.
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.
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.