Gold Bars found in Sen. Bob Menendez's New Jersey home linked to 2013 robbery, NBC reports

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FBI agents searching the home of Sen. Bob Menendez found at least four gold bars that investigators tied to a New Jersey businessman who is one of the senator's co-defendants in a federal bribery case, according to records obtained by NBC.

Photos of the alleged gold bars found in Menendez's Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, home were included this year in a bribery indictment against him and four co-defendants. Now, an NBC New York investigation revealed Monday that serial numbers of the four gold bars in the bribery indictment appear to be exact matches to four of the 22 gold bars that businessman Fred Daibes reported as stolen in 2013.

All the gold bars, along with $500,000, were eventually recovered and returned to Daibes after he reported the armed robbery ten years ago, which led to the arrest of four individuals, NBC reported. The outlet cited police and prosecutor records out of New Jersey's Bergen County.

The USA TODAY Network has reached out to obtain copies of the documents.

Senator Bob Menendez exits federal court Oct. 23 in the Southern District of New York, in lower Manhattan, after pleading not guilty.
Senator Bob Menendez exits federal court Oct. 23 in the Southern District of New York, in lower Manhattan, after pleading not guilty.

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Senator accused of bribery, acting as foreign agent

Menendez, New Jersey’s senior senator, has become embroiled in a number of scandals that have led to two federal indictments.

Most recently, a superseding indictment filed in October by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York accused Menendez, his wife Nadine Arslanian Menendez and businessman Wael Hana of together conspiring for the senator to act as a foreign agent to benefit Egypt.

Menendez plead not guilty last month to those charges, which allege that he acted as a foreign agent from January 2018 through at least June 2022 for the Egyptian government and Egyptian officials, even as he sat as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) departs after he questioned Martin O'Malley, the former Governor of Maryland, on Nov. 2 at the Senate Finance committee hearing on O'Malley's nomination to be Commissioner of Social Security.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) departs after he questioned Martin O'Malley, the former Governor of Maryland, on Nov. 2 at the Senate Finance committee hearing on O'Malley's nomination to be Commissioner of Social Security.

At the time of the indictment, the senator, his wife and Hana — along with Daibes and  and businessman Jose Uribe — had already been facing charges for allegedly participating in a bribery scheme. That original indictment, filed in September, accused Menendez and his wife of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from the businessmen in exchange for helping to enrich them and keep them out of trouble.

All four of Menendez's co-defendants have entered not guilty pleas.

Menendez stepped down as the Foreign Relations Committee chair after the most recent indictment was filed amid calls for his resignation.

Gold bars in Menendez's home have serial numbers matching Daibes' stolen property

Daibes, a millionaire developer, told police in November 2013 that he had been held at gunpoint in his Edgewater penthouse and tied to a chair as thieves made off with his cash, gold and jewelry, NBC reported.

The four suspects were soon caught and later pleaded guilty during court proceedings that Daibes attended. On Dec. 13, 2013, Daibes signed documents certifying the gold bars – each with their own serial number – and other stolen items belonged to him, NBC reported.

“They’re all stamped," Daibes said of the gold bars, according to NBC, which cited a 2014 transcript made by prosecutors and police. "You’ll never see two stamped the same way.”

Daibes’ signature and initials appear on the evidence log, which included each specific gold bar with its corresponding serial number, according to NBC.

A decade later, the FBI found four of those gold bars with those tell-tale serial numbers in the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, home of Menendez and his wife, Nadine.

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at elagatta@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gold bars in Bob Menendez bribery case linked to 2013 robbery: NBC