News and Press Releases

Defendant Arrested Following June ‘06 Bank Robbery in Sultan, Washington

December 18, 2006

HILDEBERTO MACHADO, 45, of Kuna, Idaho was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to six and a half years in prison and three years of supervised release for Bank Robbery. MACHADO admitted that between November 2005 and June 2006, he committed sixteen bank robberies in Washington, California and Idaho. MACHADO was ordered to pay restitution of $33,440.

MACHADO was arrested June 9, 2006 following the robbery of a Bank of America branch in Sultan, Washington. A witness was able to write down the license plate number of MACHADO’s getaway car. A Washington State Patrol Trooper spotted the car and stopped it a few minutes later. The cash and a loaded hand gun were recovered. MACHADO told authorities he had robbed banks in Caldwell and Nampa, Idaho; in the California towns of Tulare, Turlock, Visalia, Newman, Selma, Hanford, Madera and Gridley; and in Renton, Monroe, Redmond, Bellevue, and Seattle, Washington. The FBI had dubbed MACHADO the “Euro Bandit” because some tellers had commented that he seemed to have a “European accent.” MACHADO is a citizen of Portugal who was legally residing in the United States.

At sentencing one of the tellers who had been robbed told the court that the experience was very traumatic and led her to seek five months of counseling. In that robbery, as in the others, MACHADO had given the teller a note stating that he had a gun. The teller told the court that some of the bank customers are deaf and therefore do their banking by note. Following the robbery, the teller says she sometimes experiences severe anxiety when a customer hands her a note.

U.S. District Judge James L. Robart cited the seriousness of the robberies, and the extended robbery spree, when he imposed a sentence at the top end of the guidelines range.

The case was investigated by the FBI and we prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office. At (206) 553-4110.

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