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Press Release

Suburban Man Found Guilty of Robbing Three Banks and Additional Firearms Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal jury has found a suburban Chicago man guilty of three counts of bank robbery, three counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence, conspiracy to commit bank robbery, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and conspiracy to transfer a firearm to a felon.

As revealed at trial, between May 11 and May 31, 2018, JAMES D. WILLIAMS, 46, of Bartlett, along with a co-conspirator, robbed three banks: Second National Bank located at 323 East Norris Drive, Ottawa on May 11, Norstates Bank located at 5384 Grand Avenue, Gurnee on May 21, and Aurora Bank and Trust located at 2287 West Galena Boulevard, Aurora, on May 31.  Prior to the first robbery, Williams obtained an AK-47-style firearm, which he used in each of the three robberies.  A day after the second robbery, Williams’ wife, Jessica Sweeney Williams, purchased a handgun.  Williams used that handgun, as well as the rifle, in the third robbery.  During the third robbery, Williams discharged one of the firearms but did not cause any injuries.  Williams and his co-conspirator used disguises during each robbery and traveled in vehicles that were either rented or borrowed.

Sentencing has not yet been set before U.S. District Court Judge John Robert Blakey.  Williams faces a sentence of at least 24 years, up to life, in federal prison.  Williams’ co-conspirator, Alexis T. Handelman, 25, of Bartlett pled guilty to committing the bank robberies and is awaiting sentencing.  Williams’ wife, Jessica Sweeney Williams, pled guilty to providing a firearm to Williams and was sentenced to 24 months in prison by Judge Blakey.

The verdict is announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and Robert W. Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Valuable assistance was provided by Ottawa Police Department, Gurnee Police Department, Aurora Police Department, and Palatine Police Department.  The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Edenfield and Jasmina Vajzovic.

Updated March 20, 2023

Violent Crime