Grand Rapids Man Sentenced To 42 Months For Robbery
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan
January 2022 Robbery of Lake Michigan Credit Union
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — James Paul Sciamanna, 49, from Grand Rapids, was sentenced to serve 42 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for committing the robbery. U.S. District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou also ordered Sciamanna to serve 3 years of supervised release following his release from prison, pay a $1,250 fine, and make restitution for the unrecovered money.
James Paul Sciamanna
On January 4, 2022, Sciamanna robbed the Lake Michigan Credit Union located at 2720 Lake Michigan Drive NW, in Walker, Michigan. Sciamanna entered the building, wearing a mask, wig and knit hat. He showed the teller a demand note that said words to the effect “Don’t panic. I have a gun. I will shoot. Give me everything you have. I have bullets.” The teller complied and gave Sciamanna $3,734.
Sciamanna fled the credit union and ran to a truck with a California license plate that was parked nearby. Police recovered video surveillance from a neighboring business that captured an image of the getaway vehicle.
An officer with the Walker Police Department recognized the truck after having recent contact with Sciamanna. That evening, Grand Rapids Police officers found the truck parked on the street in a Grand Rapids neighborhood. Police officers canvased the area and found Sciamanna hiding in the bushes. After he was advised of his rights, Sciamanna confessed to the robbery and told police where to find money that he had buried and identified the people he gave money to. Police recovered all but $11 of the stolen money.
At sentencing, Judge Jarbou expressed skepticism of Sciamanna’s claim that he only did it because of his recent drug addiction and noted his long history of drug use and prior efforts at drug addiction counseling. “How can I be assured that you won’t do this again?” Judge Jarbou observed that “walking up to a teller and threatening them . . . has impact on the person;” adding, it is a “traumatic thing.” The judge stated her desire to “protect the teller.”
U.S. Attorney Mark Totten stated, “Robbers of banks and credit unions threaten vital community institutions and inflict trauma on the tellers and other employees who experience these ordeals. I am grateful to the law enforcement officers and members of my team who apprehended and successfully prosecuted Mr. Sciamanna. My office will hold robbers accountable and will never lose sight of the individuals victimized by crime.”
“Mr. Sciamanna threatened the life of an innocent bank teller, which not only traumatized her but deprived her of her right to feel safe and secure in her workplace,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “The FBI remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring violent offenders to justice and to making our communities safer places to live and work.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Mekaru, in cooperation with the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, and investigated by the Grand Rapids Police Department, and the FBI with the assistance of the Walker Police Department.
Updated July 6, 2022