Albanian National Admits Robbing Two TD Banks In Passaic And Bergen Counties
NEWARK, N.J. – An Albanian national who was living in Clifton, N.J., admitted in federal court today to robbing two TD Bank branches while armed with a gun in late 2011, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Shpend Mazari, 30, also known as “Arlind Hyseni”and “Luie Belushi,” pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with two counts of bank robbery at two TD Bank branches. One occurred on Nov. 2, 2011, in Clifton in Passaic County, N.J. and the other on Dec. 30, 2011, in Wallington in Bergen County, N.J.
Mazari pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas. At his plea hearing, he admitted Arlind Hyseni is his real name. He was previously arrested on Feb. 28, 2012, in New York City.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Nov. 2, 2011, Mazari entered a TD Bank in Clifton armed with a handgun and disguised with a baseball cap and a flesh-colored mask covering the lower part of his face. He ordered two bank employees to go to the vault and turn over cash, which they placed into a dark nylon bag.
Mazari left the bank with $286,000 in cash, which included several “bait” bills and a dye pack. Mazari dropped the money a short distance from the scene after the dye pack concealed within the bills exploded.
On Dec. 30, 2011, Mazari entered a TD Bank in Wallington shortly after it opened. He vaulted over the teller counter wearing a ski mask and armed with a handgun. He again ordered bank employees to go to the vault and hand over cash, this time making off with $182,000.
The charges to which Mazari pleaded guilty carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the total loss or gain, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for May 20, 2013.
Mazari was wanted by Interpol in a 2004 homicide in Albania. He was since convicted in absentia and sentenced to 25 years. It is the U.S. Attorney’s position that he must serve his time in the U.S. first.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez in Newark, and Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under the direction of Andrew M. McLees, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mala Ahuja Harker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: David Holman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender