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Press Release

Alleged Armed Robber Of Three Manhattan Banks Arrested And Charged In Manhattan Federal Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

            Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the arrest last night of LEONID KAZIYEV by agents and detectives of the FBI-NYPD Joint Violent Crimes Task Force (the “Task Force”).  KAZIYEV is charged with the armed robberies of three Manhattan banks over the last six months.  

            Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “In this day and age of electronic banking, old-fashioned, stickup bank robberies still happen.  As alleged in the Complaint, Leonid Kaziyev went on an armed bank robbery spree over the last several months, targeting two banks in Manhattan on three different occasions, putting innocent people at risk.  Thanks to the work of the FBI-NYPD Joint Violent Crimes Task Force, Kaziyev is now in custody.”

            FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “As alleged, Leonid Kaziyev brandished a weapon to obtain cash from bank tellers carrying out their daily duties.  This dangerous situation happened not once, but at least three times.  Thanks to the diligent work of FBI Special Agents and NYPD Detectives assigned to the FBI/NYPD Joint Violent Crimes Task Force, Kaziyev was arrested yesterday."

            NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “There is no better example of collaboration: NYPD detectives and FBI agents working together to address a crime problem. Diligent investigative work has led to the arrest of Mr. Kaziyev for holding up banks across Manhattan, as alleged. I want to thank the agents, detectives and prosecutors who have been working to make this possible.”

            A six-count Complaint was unsealed in Manhattan federal court.[1]  According to the Complaint, on two different occasions, on December 9, 2014 and June 5, 2015, KAZIYEV robbed the same branch of HSBC bank located on Fifth Avenue and East 21st Street in Manhattan, while brandishing a firearm; and robbed a branch of Bank of America, on Broadway and West 63rd Street in Manhattan, while brandishing a firearm, on May 21, 2015.  During each of these robberies, KAZIYEV demanded money from the bank teller working at the window, while displaying a firearm.  He escaped with over $10,000 cash each time.  KAZIYEV was captured on surveillance video footage during each of the three armed robberies, and a vehicle registered to KAZIYEV was captured on Automatic License Plate Reader (“LPR”) data, arriving to, and leaving, the scenes of the robberies.

            KAZIYEV was arrested last night in Queens, New York, by the Task Force, which comprises FBI agents and NYPD detectives.  He will be presented later today in Manhattan federal court before U.S Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis.  KAZIYEV is charged with three counts of bank robbery, each of which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison, and three counts of brandishing a firearm in connection with each robbery, each of which carries a mandatory minimum term of seven years in prison consecutive to any other term of imprisonment, up to life in prison.  The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.             

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            Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI-NYPD Joint Violent Crimes Task Force.  He added that the investigation is continuing.

            The Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit is overseeing the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Justina L. Geraci is in charge of the prosecution.

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


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated July 14, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-178