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Press Release

Luzerne County Man Pleads Guilty To Committing Four Bank Robberies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Damen Drakeford, age 30, of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, pleaded guilty on November 21, 2023, before United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion, to committing multiple bank robberies.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Drakeford admitted to committing four bank robberies, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in July 2023.  

Specifically, Drakeford admitted to robbing the following institutions:

            - Fulton Bank, Netcong, New Jersey, on July 7, 2023;

            - Provident Bank, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, on July 11, 2023;

            - Fidelity Bank, Upper Mount Bethel Township, Pennsylvania, on July 11, 2023; and

            - M&T Bank, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on July 14, 2023.

A total of $32,988 was taken in the robberies.  After the M&T Bank robbery, Drakeford was apprehended by members of the Pennsylvania State Police and the Stroud Area Regional Police Department, after he led the police on a high-speed vehicle chase, crashed his vehicle, and ran into the nearby woods where he was arrested by the police.

The charges against the defendant resulted from an investigation conducted by the Stroud Area Regional Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.  Members of the Fair Lawn and Netcong Police Departments in New Jersey, and the New Jersey State Police, also assisted with the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara is prosecuting the case.

This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Under federal law, for each of the robberies, Drakeford faces a maximum sentence of up to twenty years in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


Updated November 22, 2023

Violent Crime