News and Press Releases

Washington, new jersey man sentenced to eight years in prison for robbing five banks

August 4, 2011


TRENTON, N.J. – A Washington, N.J., man was sentenced today to 96 months in prison for robbing five banks between January 29 and March 10, 2011, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Joseph Pennello, 47, previously pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with five counts of bank robbery, admitting he robbed banks scattered throughout three New Jersey counties. Pennello entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano, who also imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

During his guilty plea, Pennello admitted to robbing the following banks:



Amount Stolen

January 29, 2011

PNC Bank; Washington, N.J.


February 6, 2011

TD Bank; Scotch Plains, N.J.


February 11, 2011

PNC Bank; Hackensack, N.J.


February 18, 2011

Chase Bank; Hackettstown, N.J.


March 10, 2011

Wells Fargo Bank; Rutherford, N.J.


Pennello entered the banks and demanded money from the tellers, either verbally or using notes. During the robbery of the TD Bank in Scotch Plains, Pennello’s note demanded all the money in the teller’s drawer. He also passed a note to a teller at the PNC Bank in Hackensack which read, “This is a robbery. No alarms. No dye-packs. No tracers. No one gets hurts [sic].” At the PNC Bank in Washington, Pennello demanded money from a teller while gesturing toward what appeared to be a firearm concealed on his person.

On March 12, 2011, Pennello walked into a police station and turned himself in to law enforcement officials. The defendant has been in custody since that time.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Pisano sentenced Pennello to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $18,054 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; along with the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Washington Township Police Department, Hackettstown Police Department, Hasbrouck Heights Police Department, Rutherford Police Department, Hackensack Police Department and Scotch Plains Police Department for the work leading to the identification and apprehension of the defendant.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronnell L. Wilson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: John Yauch Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark, N.J.

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Justice 101
Community Outreach

Giving Back to the Community through a variety of venues & initatives.

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Civil Rights Enforcement

Oficinas de los Fiscales de Estados Unidos En Español