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Press Release

District Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery Charge For June 2015 Hold-Up in Northwest Washington

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Admits Taking Part in Similar Crimes

            WASHINGTON - Michael Johnson, 50, of Washington, D.C., has pled guilty to a bank robbery charge involving a hold-up last year in Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Johnson pled guilty to the charge on June 21, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In entering his guilty plea, Johnson also admitted responsibility for an additional bank robbery and an attempted bank robbery.  He is to be sentenced on Sept. 20, 2016 by the Honorable Richard J. Leon. He faces a statutory maximum of 25 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely range of 70 to 87 months in prison and a potential fine of $20,000 to $200,000.

            Johnson remains held without bond pending sentencing.

            According to the government=s evidence, on Saturday, June 6, 2015, at approximately 12:40 p.m., Johnson walked into a Wells Fargo Bank in the 3300 block of 14th Street NW. He approached a bank employee and inquired about opening a joint bank account.  When the employee asked about the second party for the joint account, Johnson stated that he was not there to open an account, but there “for the money.”  Shortly thereafter, Johnson grabbed the bank employee and forced her to the teller stations with what appeared to be a handgun pointed at her body.  He threatened to shoot the employee if the tellers did not give him money.  A bank teller gave him $910 from one of the teller drawers. Johnson took the cash and fled the bank.

            Within a few minutes of the bank robbery, officers with the Metropolitan Police Department saw Johnson in the 1300 block of Kenyon Street NW, a short distance from the Wells Fargo bank.  When they attempted to approach him, he fled.  After a brief chase, the officers subdued Johnson and later recovered the stolen money in his pants.  After Johnson was placed under arrest, he was interviewed by law enforcement. He admitted to robbing the Wells Fargo bank.   He also told law enforcement where he discarded the weapon he had used when he fled from the bank.  The weapon, a knife shaped like a gun, was recovered shortly thereafter.  

            The other crimes took place in the weeks leading up to the Wells Fargo Bank robbery.

            On May 15, 2015, at approximately 11:35 a.m., Johnson walked into a Wells Fargo Bank in the 1900 block of Seventh Street NW. He told a bank employee that he was there to open an account.  After the employee asked for his identification, Johnson handed her a note demanding money and threatening to hurt the employee.  The employee told Johnson that she did not have any money at her desk, but that she would get some cash from the teller.  As she stood, she pressed the alarm button under her desk.  Johnson told her that he saw her push the button and then left the bank. He was later identified by a witness from surveillance video from the bank.

            On May 21, 2015, at about 1:15 p.m., Johnson walked into a Citibank in the 3200 block of 14th Street NW. He approached a teller and handed over a note demanding money.  Johnson then said, “Give me the cash right now,” while making a threatening gesture towards a customer in a nearby teller line.  The teller gave Johnson $1,745 and he fled from the bank.  The note was later processed for fingerprints, and a latent print matching Johnson was recovered.

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Assistant Director in Charge Abbate, and Chief Lanier commended the actions of those who worked on the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department.  They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Catherine O’Neal and Legal Assistant Peter Gaboton.  Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamila Hodge, who is prosecuting the case.

Updated June 23, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-111