News and Press Releases

Six More Charged in Series of Houston Area Armed Bank Robberies

July 14, 2011

HOUSTON – A sealed superseding indictment charging six more Houston area residents for their alleged involvement in a series of Houston area bank robberies including the New Year’s Eve robbery of a Pearland bank was unsealed today, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with FBI-Houston acting Special Agent in Charge Russell D. Robinson and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge J. Dewey Webb announced today.

With the arrest of these additional six defendants, a total of 13 defendants are now charged with conspiring to and committing a series of armed bank robberies of Houston area banks including the robbery of the Pearland Chase branch bank on Dec. 31, 2010. The 16-count superseding indictment was returned under seal on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, and completely unsealed today following the appearance of the last of the newly charged defendants before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith in Houston. The six now charged in the superseding indictment include John Berley Scott aka Fresh, 30, Derrick Lashon Paley aka Crybaby, 33, Michael Maurice Wilson Jr. aka Blue/Mikey Poo, 25, Roderick Marshall Beagle, 39, Michael Dushon Duncan aka Mikey, 19, and Kelvin Dewayne Thomas aka Little Kevin, 21, all of Houston.

One or more new defendants have been added to several of the already existing counts in the original indictment and also charged with new counts. Scott is charged with committing an armed bank robbery on Sept. 15, 2010, of the Amegy Bank located on the 300 block of N. Sam Houston Parkway in Houston; Scott along with Paley is also charged with committing an armed bank robbery on Oct. 12, 2010, of the Comerica Bank located on the 14600 block of Memorial Drive in Houston; Raymond Tierra Johnson aka T, 30, and Samuel Glen Bonner aka Glen, 39, are charged with Hostage Taking for their role in the New Year’s Eve robbery in Pearland.  

Three defendants were arrested in the Houston area this week. Paley was arrested on July 12, 2011, while Beagle was arrested the following day. Thomas was arrested today. Paley has made his initial appearances before Judge Smith and been ordered to remain in custody pending a hearing on the government’s motion to detain him without bond pending trial set for tomorrow, July 15, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Smith. Beagle’s initial appearance is set for today at 2:00 pm before Judge Smith. Thomas is also expected to make his initial appearance before Judge Smith this afternoon with a setting for his detention hearing to be scheduled at that time.  

The fourth newly charged defendant, Duncan, was originally charged by criminal complaint for his role in the New Year’s Eve bank robbery in Pearland. He remains in federal custody without bond by order of the court and is expected to make his initial appearance to answer the charges in the superseding indictment in the near future. The remaining two newly charged defendants, Wilson Jr. and Scott are both presently in state custody on unrelated charges. Both are expected to be transferred into federal custody in the near future to answer the new charges. 

The seven others previously charged for their alleged involvement  in this bank robbery spree and also named in the superseding indictment are Johnson and Bonner, along with Gregory Wayne Ferguson, 18, Larry Smith, 34, Arlington Davis Wilkes aka AD, 20, Carl Ray Turner Jr. aka CT, 24, and Edward Johnson, 26

The superseding indictment accuses all 13 defendants of conspiring together to rob several Houston area banks through force and intimidation including Wells Fargo branch banks on Grant Road on Aug. 23, 2010, Memorial Drive and Kimberly Lane on Oct. 7, 2010, the Coamerica Bank branch banks on the NW Freeway and the 14600 block of Memorial Drive, the Citibank Branch on Cypresswood on Sept. 14, the Amegy Bank on N. Sam Houston Parkway on Sept. 15, the Chase Bank branch on the NW Freeway in Cypress, Texas, on Oct. 27 and the Chase branch bank on North Main in Pearland, Texas, on Dec. 31, 2010. Each of these robberies is alleged as an individual substantive count against two or more of the various defendants. The seven other defendants previously charged by indictment for their alleged involvement in the robbery spree are presently in federal custody without bond pending trial.

The conspiracy, according to allegations in the indictment, involved “casing” banks for robberies and the selection of banks that did not have security guards or bullet resistant bandit barriers. The conspirators allegedly used lookouts during robberies and used stolen or “hot” cars as get-a-way vehicles to commit the offenses. According to the indictment, the co-conspirators recruited others to assist them to rob the banks in exchange for a share of the proceeds taken. Bank robberies were effected through the use of demand notes allegedly written by Smith and through the brandishing and firing of firearms during the course of the robbery to ensure compliance with their demands.

Conspiracy to commit a bank robbery carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Each count of bank robbery carries a maximum punishment upon conviction of 20 years incarceration or 25 years if a firearms displayed and/or a $250,000 fine. Brandishing or discharging a firearm during and in furtherance of a bank robbery carries a mandatory punishments of seven and 10 years, respectively, which must be served consecutive to any sentences imposed for the underlying bank robbery conviction. hostage taking carries a maximum punishment of up to life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. 

The charges against these defendants are the result of a federal investigation conducted by the FBI and the ATF with the substantial assistance and cooperation of the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Crimestoppers, Friendswood Police Department, Pearland Police Department and the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office. The United States Attorney wishes to recognizes each of these investigative agencies as well as the security departments of Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase for their outstanding efforts.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suzanne Elmilady and Kebharu Smith are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty through due process of law.

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