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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Paterson Man Pleads Guilty To Robbing Two Passaic County Banks

NEWARK, N.J. – A Paterson, New Jersey, man today admitted robbing a TD Bank in Paterson in June 2017 and an Investors Bank in Clifton, New Jersey, in July 2017, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

James M. Chestnut, 62, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court to an information charging him with two counts of bank robbery.

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

On June 30, 2017, Chestnut 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 entered an Investors Bank in Clifton and approached a teller, this time brandishing what appeared to be 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.”

During the plea, Chestnut also admitted attempting to rob a Chase Bank in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, on July 3, 2017.

Both bank robbery counts carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for March 21, 2018.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. 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.

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

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
17-457
Updated December 20, 2017