Three Queens Defendants Convicted Of Committing Armed Robberies Of Check Cashing Stores
The Defendants Stole Almost $250,000 from Two Queens Pay-O-Matic Check Cashing Stores Using Disguises That Included Hollywood-Style Special Effects Masks
Following a two-week trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, today found Edward Byam, Derrick Dunkley, and Akeem Monsalvatge guilty of robbery conspiracy, two counts of robbery, and two counts of using a firearm in connection with those robberies.
The convictions were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
The government’s evidence at trial established that the defendants committed two armed robberies of separate Pay-O-Matic check cashing stores in Queens, New York. In 2010, the three defendants stole over $40,000 from a Pay-O-Matic after one of the defendants gained entry into the secure teller area through the roof. Wearing hooded sweatshirts and cloth masks over their faces, the defendants held the victim teller at gunpoint, handcuffed him, and beat him with a metal chair before making off with the stolen cash. In 2012, the defendants robbed yet another Pay-O-Matic check cashing store at gunpoint, this time wearing New York City Police Department jackets, badges, and life-like Hollywood-style special effects masks that concealed their identities and made them appear to be three white men. During this robbery, the defendants gained entry to the secure teller area by showing one of tellers a picture of her own home to indicate they knew where she lived and then forced the other teller on duty to open the locked doors to the teller area, where the defendants held the tellers at gunpoint and stole over $200,000 from the safe and teller drawers.
The government’s evidence included the testimony of the victim tellers who were held up at gunpoint during the 2010 and 2012 robberies, a manager at a different check cashing store who, the evidence showed, was a future intended victim of the defendants, as well as the owner of the company that manufactured the life-like special effects masks used by the defendants during the 2012 robbery. The government’s evidence also included telephone and cell site records placing the defendants at the scene of one of the crimes, DNA evidence, emails, and other documents showing the defendants’ purchases of the disguises used in the 2012 robbery and their purchases of tens of thousands of dollars of luxury items from high-end luxury boutiques.
“Those who would use violence and intimidation to make a quick buck should take this as a lesson: whatever tricks and deception they employ, they will be found and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the New York City Police Department’s Police Impersonation Unit and the New York Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agencies responsible for leading the government’s investigation. Ms. Lynch also thanked the United States Marshals Service for their crucial assistance in apprehending these violent criminals.
When sentenced by United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie, the defendants face a mandatory term of imprisonment between 32 years and life.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Cruz Melendez, Una A. Dean, Tiana A. Demas, and Tyler J. Smith.
EDWARD BYAM, Age: 25
DERRICK DUNKLEY, Age: 25
AKEEM MONSALVATGE, Age: 38
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