Former 'American Gangster' prosecutor sentenced to probation

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A former New Jersey prosecutor portrayed by actor Russell Crowe in the film "American Gangster" has been sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to stealing from his law clients.

Richard Roberts was sentenced Thursday in Morristown, New Jersey.

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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 had been on trial in July when he pleaded guilty to perjury and theft charges. He acknowledged having taken $20,000 in client funds from his law firm's attorney trust account to make alimony payments.

It wasn't the first time Roberts ran afoul of the law. He was sentenced to three years of probation in 2018 after pleading guilty to federal tax charges.

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