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Press Release

Essex County Man Indicted for Gunpoint Robbery of Cell Phone Store

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for his role in a January 2021 gunpoint robbery of a cell phone store in East Orange, New Jersey, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Kenneth Graham, 49, of Newark, is charged by indictment with one count of Hobbs Act Robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. He will be arraigned at a date to be determined.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Jan. 18, 2021, Graham was in a cell phone store when he drew a gun and pointed it at a store employee. Graham ordered the employee to place several cell phones from the display case and cash from the register into his bag. Video surveillance footage near the store showed Graham enter a black Nissan Altima after the robbery and drive away. Witnesses confirmed that Graham was the person entering the Nissan Altima after robbing the store.

The count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison. It also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years of prison in this case because Graham was previously convicted of the same crime in 2007 in connection with three gunpoint bank robberies in New Jersey. The sentence on this charge must be consecutive to any other sentence imposed. The Hobbs Act robbery charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and members of the East Orange Police Department, under the direction of Chief Phylis Bindi, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of the Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated August 19, 2021

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 21-375