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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Newark, N.J., Man Sentenced To 114 Months In Prison For His Role In Armed Robbery And Shooting Of Retired Police Officer

TRENTON, N.J. — A Newark, N.J., man was sentenced today to 114 months in prison for his role in an armed robbery and shooting of a retired police officer working as an armed money courier, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Theodore Lada, 40, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and Hobbs Act robbery. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

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

On May 19, 2011, Lada and James Sodano, 70, of West Orange, N.J., confronted a retired police officer working as an armed money courier for a check cashing service as he was delivering a bag containing $400,000 to a Newark bar. As he exited his car, Lada approached him and the two men exchanged gunfire. The courier fell to his knees and Lada fled.

Sodano approached the courier from behind, shooting him in the jaw. As the victim fell, he fired a shot, hitting Sodano in the leg. Sodano shot him again, hitting the victim in the arm. Sodano then pulled the bag of money from beneath the victim as he was lying face down on the ground. Sodano drove off in his car, but crashed three and a half blocks away. When police arrived, they found Sodano, wearing a bulletproof vest and a pair of gloves, slipping in and out of consciousness, still holding on to the steering wheel. Police found a pool of blood, several weapons, ammunition and the bag containing the $400,000 inside the car. Lada was apprehended nine months later after DNA evidence connected him to the crime scene.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Lada to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $375,551.56 in restitution to the victim.

Following a two-and-a-half week trial, a jury convicted Sodano on April 2, 2013, on all three counts charged in the indictment: conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery; Hobbs Act robbery; and possessing, carrying and using a firearm, which was discharged in connection with the robbery. Sodano was sentenced to a total of 468 months in prison and five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $375,551.56 in restitution to the victim.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s sentence. He also thanked the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Newark Police Department, for their roles in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dara Aquila Govan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.


Defense counsel: Olubukola O. Adetula Esq., Irvington, N.J.

Updated March 18, 2015