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Press Release

Two Luzerne County Men Plead Guilty To Armed Bank Robbery

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 on February 28, 2019, Gerald Pambianco, age 29, of Plains Township, Pennsylvania, and Derek Spaide, age 26, of Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to armed robbery of the Luzerne National Bank in Plains Township.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Pambianco and Spaide admitted to the armed bank robbery and brandishing firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence of the Luzerne National Bank in Plains Township on May 16, 2018.   Pambianco and Spaide traveled to the Luzerne National Bank, where Spaide placed a t-shirt over his face, entered the bank, pointed a rifle at a bank employee and demanded money.  Approximately $8,204 was taken in the robbery.  Spaide then entered a vehicle driven by Pambianco, who drove away from the bank and engaged in a high-speed vehicle chase with police.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Plains Township Police Department, and the Hanover Township Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara is prosecuting the case.        

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017, as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce crime.

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.

The maximum penalty for the armed bank robbery charge under federal law is 25 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine. The charge of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, consecutive to any other sentence. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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Updated March 12, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods