‘American Gangster’ prosecutor pleads guilty to theft charge
MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A former New Jersey prosecutor portrayed by actor Russell Crowe in the film “American Gangster” has pleaded guilty to stealing from his law clients.
Eighty-one-year-old Richard Roberts was on trial in Morristown, New Jersey, at the time of his plea Tuesday to perjury and theft charges. He faces a year in jail when he’s sentenced in August and will also permanently lose his law license.
Roberts acknowledged having taken $20,000 in client funds from his law firm’s attorney trust account to make alimony payments.
Roberts’ involvement in prosecuting Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas in the 1970s was portrayed in the 2007 film also starring Denzel Washington. Lucas died in May.
Roberts was sentenced to three years’ probation in 2018 after pleading guilty to federal tax charges.