FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A man allegedly responsible for the May 19, 2011, armed robbery of a courier delivering cash to a Newark business appeared in court today to face federal charges related to the daylight heist, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
James Sodano, 68, of West Orange, N.J., is charged by Complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. He appeared this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in Newark federal court and was detained.
“As we enter a summer already marred by violent crime, these charges are an example of many levels of law enforcement working together to stop the senseless bloodshed that destroys lives and creates fear in the people of Newark,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman.
According to the Complaint filed July 8, 2011:
On May 19, 2011, Sodano and another armed man confronted a retired police officer working as an armed money courier for a check cashing service as he was delivering a bag containing $400,000 to a Newark bar, shooting him multiple times.
Sodano was arrested by Newark police officers as he attempted to flee the scene in a getaway car, but crashed the vehicle as a result of a gunshot wound he sustained. A bag containing $400,000 was recovered from the vehicle.
The second gunman fled the scene on foot and remains at large.
The charge of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime carries a minimum potential penalty of 10 years in prison, to run consecutively to the sentence for the underlying crime, and a maximum of life in prison.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, which filed the initial charges, under the direction of Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray; and Newark Police Department, under the direction of Acting Director Samuel Anthony DeMaio, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mala Ahuja Harker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit; and Robert Frazer of the Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the
defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Anyone who has information which may be relevant to this case is encouraged to contact
the Newark Division of the FBI at 973-792-3000.
Defense counsel: K. Anthony Thomas. Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, NewarkSodano, James Complaint