Richard M. Roberts (born November 28, 1937) is an American attorney. Roberts was a former law enforcement officer who worked as a detective in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and Essex County Bureau of Narcotics. After completing law school at Seton Hall University and passing the bar examination, Roberts served as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.
Roberts is recognized for his role in the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of Harlem "drug kingpin" Frank Lucas, who operated a heroin smuggling and distribution ring in the New York City neighborhood. In addition to bringing down Lucas's operation, Roberts's investigation also uncovered police corruption connected with the drug trade. Lucas's criminal enterprise and the investigation by Roberts were the subject of the 2007 film American Gangster, starring actor Denzel Washington (as Lucas) and New Zealand actor Russell Crowe (as Roberts). After Lucas was incarcerated, Roberts entered private practice as an attorney specializing in criminal defense and was retained by Lucas as defense counsel.
In April 2017, Roberts pleaded guilty to tax crimes after an investigation against him by the Internal Revenue Service's criminal division and investigators from the U.S. Attorney's Office.