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Justice News

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Somerset County, New Jersey, Man Admits Role In Five Bank Robberies, One Attempted Bank Robbery

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bound Brook, New Jersey, man today admitted robbing five banks and attempting to rob another between June 2014 and June 2015, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Luis Castaneda, 40, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court to an information charging him with six counts of bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of one of the robberies.

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

Castaneda admitted that between June 6, 2014 and June 12, 2015, he robbed or attempted to rob six banks, all in New Jersey:


Financial Institution


June 6, 2014

County Educators Federal Credit Union


Dec. 3, 2014

Manville Area Federal Credit Union


March 19, 2015

Public Service Credit Union


May 9, 2015

Peapack-Gladstone Bank (Attempt)


May 9, 2015

Unity Bank

Whitehouse Station

June 12, 2015

Somerset Savings Bank


Castaneda admitted that during each of the above robberies, he and others threatened to use force while demanding money from the bank employees. He also admitted that during the Somerset Savings Bank robbery on June 12, 2015, he brandished a firearm in order to intimidate one or more of the bank employees.

The bank robbery charges to which Castaneda pleaded guilty each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of brandishing a firearm carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15, 2016.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI Franklin Township Resident Agency, 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 Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Somerville, Manville, Piscataway, Readington Township, Middlesex Borough, and Bound Brook police departments for their contributions to the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: John Azzarello Esq.

Press Release Number: 
Updated November 7, 2016