Portland Man Sentenced to 16½ Years for Armed Bank Robberies
Contact: Michael J. Conley
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 780-3257
Portland, Maine: United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Neil West, Sr., 65, of Portland, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Chief Judge Nancy Torresen to 14½ years in prison and five years of supervised release for armed bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery. The charges arose out of the September 2015 robberies of University Credit Union (UCU) in Portland and TD Bank (TDB) in Lewiston. West was found guilty on July 28, 2016 following a jury trial. West was also ordered to serve a consecutive two-year sentence for violating conditions of supervised release.
According to court records, on September 4, 2015, co-conspirators Joseph Richards and Crystal Default robbed UCU. On September 12, 2015, Richards robbed TDB. West served as the getaway driver for both robberies. The TDB robbery resulted in a high-speed chase which culminated in Saco. Following the chase, West and Richards were arrested.
At the time of the robberies, West was on federal supervised release for being an Accessory After the Fact (to Bank Robbery) and for which he received a 41-month prison sentence in June 2013. His conditions of release prohibited him from committing another federal offense.
On September 14, 2016, Richards was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On October 4, 2016, Dufault was sentenced to three years in prison.
In sentencing West, Chief Judge Torresen noted that bank robberies cause “great emotional harm to tellers and customers and put people at risk.” She also noted that West’s lengthy criminal history and his “extremely reckless driving through residential neighborhoods at high rates of speed” while absconding were both aggravating factors warranting the stiff sentence.
The joint investigation was conducted by the Franklin (New Hampshire), Manchester (New Hampshire), Freeport, Portland, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach and Saco (Maine) Police Departments; the Maine State Police; and the Southern Maine Gang Task Force comprised of agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and the Portland, South Portland, Lewiston and Biddeford Police Departments.
U.S. Attorney Delahanty praised the cooperation among these law enforcement agencies noting that “these armed bank robberies were quickly solved because local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies across two states worked closely together.”