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Justice News

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Paterson Man Charged With Robbing Two Passaic County Banks

NEWARK, N.J. – A Paterson, New Jersey, man appeared in federal court today to face charges that he recently robbed a TD Bank in Paterson, New Jersey, and an Investors Bank in Clifton, New Jersey, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

James M. Chestnut, 62, was arrested yesterday and charged by complaint with two counts of bank robbery. He appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court and was detained.

According to the complaint:

On June 30, 2017, Chestnut allegedly entered a TD Bank in Paterson and handed a teller a note stating “Put 100s and 50s in the envelope. No dye pack.”

On July 5, 2017, Chestnut allegedly entered an Investors Bank in Clifton and approached a teller, this time while brandishing a firearm. He told the teller to “Open your drawer. Give me your money. All the 100s. Don’t call the cops or I’ll shoot you.”

Chestnut has two prior federal bank robbery convictions from 1996 and 2004.

The armed bank robbery count carries a maximum potential penalty of 25 years in prison. The unarmed bank robbery count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Both counts carry a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, New Jersey, with the investigation. He also thanked the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Director Jerry Speziale; the Saddle Brook Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Kugler; the Clifton Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Centurione; and the Passaic Police Department, under the direction of Chief Luis A. Guzman, for their assistance.

In addition, the investigation was aided by the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, which is comprised of law enforcement personnel from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Roxbury Police Department, the Paterson Police Department, and the N.J. State Police.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine K. Lou of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

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

Defense counsel: Patrick McMahon Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Press Release Number: 
Updated July 7, 2017