NEWARK, N.J. – Two Brooklyn, New York men are charged with three gunpoint robberies of check cashing locations in different parts of New Jersey in 2021 and 2022 and with conspiracy to commit robberies in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Ramel Harris, 40, of Brooklyn, and Neville Brown, 38, of Brooklyn, are charged by complaint with one count of Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery, three counts of Hobbs Act Robbery, and one count of Using, Carrying, and Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence. Harris and Brown each made their initial appearance on September 6, 2022 before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark, III in Newark federal court and were detained.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On several dates between January 2021 and January 2022, two individuals, later identified as Harris and Brown, attempted to rob a check cashing location in Nanuet, New York, and thereafter successfully robbed three check cashing locations in different parts of New Jersey while brandishing a firearm and using zip ties to restrain female employees at each location. During those robberies, Harris and Brown stole over $578,000.
During the subsequent investigation, law enforcement learned that the conspirators surveilled check cashing locations in the following locations: Mount Kisco, New York, Allentown, Pennsylvania and West Chester, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement collected an extensive amount of video surveillance footage that ultimately linked Harris and Brown to the robberies.
The Hobbs Act Robbery and Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence count carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offenses, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited members of the FBI’s New Jersey field office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy; members of the FBI’s New York field office, under the leadership of Assistant Director In Charge Michael J. Driscoll; members of the FBI’s Philadelphia field office, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire; members of the Hackettstown Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief James Macaulay; members of the Old Bridge Police Department, under the leadership of Acting Chief of Police Donald F. Fritz, Jr.; members of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief Richard Pantina; members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll; members of the Clarkstown Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief Jeffrey Wanamaker; members of the Westchester County (New York) Department of Public Safety; and members of the Borough of West Chester (Pennsylvania) Police Department, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of the National Security Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.