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Press Release

Defendant Sentenced To 205 Months In Prison For Leading Crew That Committed More Than Two Dozen Armed Robberies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Eleven Defendants Convicted of Robbery and Firearms Offenses; Two Defendants Convicted After Trial

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that HENRY JAMES was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 205 months in prison for leading a robbery crew that committed over two dozen armed robberies in the Bronx and Brooklyn in 2013.  Since September 2013, JAMES and ten other defendants have been charged for their respective roles in this armed robbery conspiracy.  In October 2014, JAMES pled guilty to participating in the robbery conspiracy and a firearms offense.  JAMES was sentenced by United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein.

In November 2014, co-defendants Markquez McFadden and Qushawn Woods were convicted after a two-week jury trial before Judge Stein.  McFadden and Woods were each found guilty of participating in the robbery conspiracy, and McFadden was also found guilty of a firearms offense.  On July 9, 2015, Judge Stein sentenced Woods to 46 months in prison.  On July 15, 2015 Judge Stein sentenced McFadden to 120 months in prison.

The eight other defendants in this case – Jerome Ortiz, Edward Matthews, Kelvin Green, Tyrell Jones, Untra Jones, Cesar Thomas, Dennis Buie, Sr., and Dennis Buie, Jr. – pled guilty to various offenses, including participating in the robbery conspiracy and/or firearms offenses.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Henry James, a convicted murderer, led a violent and ruthless armed robbery crew that terrorized hard working employees at various stores in the Bronx and Brooklyn.  For his crime spree of over two dozen armed robberies, James has now been convicted and sentenced.”

            According to the allegations contained in the Indictments, evidence presented at trial, and other court documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:

Between July and October 2013, the eleven-member crew that JAMES led and organized committed more than two dozen armed robberies in the Bronx and Brooklyn.  The robberies followed a simple but violent pattern.  Multiple robbers entered a store during business hours while customers and employees were inside and demanded money, cellphones, and other items at gunpoint.  During these robberies, one robber entered the store first, drew his gun, approached the clerk, and announced a robbery.  The other robber or robbers then walked in, often closed the door behind them, and then put a mask over (or pulled a hood onto) their faces.  The robbers would demand access to the “drop box” or “lock box” where they believed cash was held.  Afterward, the robbers left the store and drove away in a vehicle that was parked around the corner from the store.  In certain robberies, store employees were pistol whipped.

JAMES previously served a more than a 20-year sentence for a 1986 second degree murder in which a victim was killed during the course of a robbery.  Less than one year after he was released from prison, JAMES began recruiting members to commit these armed robberies.

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            All eleven defendants have either pled guilty or been convicted after trial.  In addition to JAMES, Woods, and McFadden, the following defendants have been sentenced by Judge Stein:

  • On July 31, 2014 Jerome Ortiz was sentenced to 120 months in prison.
  • On October 28, 2014, Edward Matthews was sentenced to 132 months in prison.
  • On December 17, 2014, Untra Jones was sentenced to 90 months in prison.
  • On February 23, 2015, Dennis Buie, Sr. was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Cesar Thomas, Dennis Buie, Jr., Kelvin Green, and Tyrell Jones have yet to be sentenced.

            Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the New York City Police Department, especially detectives from the Bronx Robbery Squad and Joint Robbery Task Force.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force for their outstanding assistance in the pursuit and arrest of JAMES.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent & Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Bauer, Andrea M. Griswold, and Joshua A. Naftalis are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated August 10, 2015

Press Release Number: 203