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NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced to 330 months in prison for his role in a January 2021 gunpoint robbery of a cell phone store in East Orange, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Kenneth Graham, 50, of Newark, was convicted of 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. Graham was convicted following a one-week trial before Senior U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini, who imposed the sentence on Oct. 25, 2023, in Newark federal court.
According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial:
On Jan. 18, 2021, Graham was in the cell phone store when he pulled out a gun and pointed it at a store employee. He ordered the employee to place several cell phones from the display case and cash from the register into a bag. Video surveillance footage near the store showed Graham enter a black Nissan Altima after the robbery and drive away. A witness confirmed that Graham was the person entering the Nissan Altima after robbing the store.
Historical cell phone records indicate that Graham’s cellular telephone was in East Orange near the store around the time of the robbery, and photographs on Graham’s cell phone showed Graham wearing a sweatshirt with a distinct logo. In the video surveillance footage from the robbery, Graham wore that same sweatshirt.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Martini sentenced Graham to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $2,773.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, and members of the East Orange Police Department, under the direction of Chief Phyllis Bindi, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Levin and Jennifer S. Kozar of the Criminal Division in Newark.