“American Gangster” Prosecutor and Bloomfield Lawyer Admits Tax Fraud
A former prosecutor in Essex County, New Jersey will not be going to prison after he pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges. The defendant in the federal case, Richard “Richie” Roberts, is an 80-year-old man from Bloomfield, NJ. If Roberts had stood trial in the case, he would have faced many years behind bars in a federal penitentiary for failure to pay taxes; however, a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office allowed Roberts to avoid jail time.
In April 2017, Roberts made an appearance in US District Court and admitted to failing to pay personal income taxes as far back as 2000. Additionally, Roberts admitted that he failed to pay the required payroll taxes as an employer. Since Roberts was in charge of a law firm in Essex County, New Jersey, he had a legal obligation to account for those payroll taxes.
The terms of Roberts’ plea deal with federal prosecutors called for him to receive a sentence of 10 months of home confinement and three years of probation. Now that sentence has been approved by a US District Court judge in Newark, New Jersey. U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito issued a statement for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and indicated that Roberts must steer clear of trouble or risk being ordered to serve time in prison for whatever time remains on his probationary term.
Roberts has also been ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to pay $224,962 in restitution. That is the amount of money that he defrauded the federal government out of, according to authorities.
Richard Roberts and Frank Lucas: Heroin Trafficking Case Depicted in American Gangster
Roberts’ life story was depicted in the Hollywood film American Gangster. Roberts, who was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the film, previously worked as a detective in NJ and eventually served as an assistant prosecutor with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in Newark. Roberts was a vital member of the prosecutorial team that got a conviction of infamous Harlem drug dealer Frank Lucas on heroin trafficking charges.
Lucas, who went on to be portrayed by Denzel Washington in American Gangster, was initially sentenced to 70 years in prison. However, he later became a government informant and got an early release from prison. Lucas’ role as a government informant eventually led to him and Roberts becoming friends. Years after Roberts secured Lucas’ heroin distribution conviction, he actually represented Lucas in court and helped him fight criminal charges for Social Security fraud.
Schedule a Free Consultation with the Tormey Law Firm Today About Your NJ Theft or Fraud Charges
The Tormey Law Firm is a New Jersey legal team with attorneys who have experience defending clients against theft and fraud charges throughout Essex County, including Newark, Bloomfield, and East Orange. If you’ve been charged with tax fraud, or any other fraud crime, our skilled criminal lawyers can help you beat the charges. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation about your case.