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Amherst woman convicted of bank robbery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2014

    BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Sheila L. Cassata, 48, of Amherst N.Y., pleaded guilty before District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara to bank robbery. The charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a $250,000 fine, or both. 

                According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, Cassata was arrested on January 15, 2014 along with co-defendant Michael Mitchell, a/k/a Max. The defendant drove Mitchell to a KeyBank branch at 201 Amherst Street, in Buffalo on December 27, 2013, knowing that Mitchell was intending to rob the bank.  In addition, Cassata drive Mitchell to an M&T Bank at 130 Grant Street in Buffalo on January 3, 2014, and a First Niagara Bank at 1248 Abbott Road in Lackawanna on January 9, 2014, knowing that Mitchell was intending to rob the banks. 

“With each conviction, we believe we are getting closer to the end of a crime spree which focused on area banks,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul.

Michael Mitchell is currently charged with robbing the three banks. As indicated in publicly filed charging documents, the bank robberies contain similarities to a total of 22 separate bank robberies that began on April 23, 2013. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the FBI Safe Street Task Force.

                Sentencing is scheduled for October 1, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.