Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”); Joseph Spano, the Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Correction (“WCDOC”); and Jose A Gomerez, Police Commissioner of the City of Newburgh, announced that RECALDO FRAY, a correction officer at Westchester County Jail in Vahala, New York, was charged on Monday, January 15 with committing an armed robbery in Newburgh, New York, and later returning to Newburgh to intimidate the robbery victim. FRAY was arrested and presented on Tuesday, January 16 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew E. Krause. During his presentment, FRAY made an application for bail, which the court denied, and he has been detained. Additionally, a Mount Vernon man, KAHEEM PALMER, was charged on Monday, January 22 with committing the armed robbery along with FRAY. PALMER was arrested and presented yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy. PALMER made an application for bail, which the court denied, and he was detained.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Recaldo Fray, a correction officer at Westchester County Jail, and Kaheem Palmer are alleged to have committed a gunpoint robbery of two individuals, restraining them and stealing their cash and marijuana. Fray allegedly betrayed his sworn duty to uphold the law, and he will now experience the justice system not as a partner, but as an accused violent offender. Both men will be held accountable for their alleged violent and brazen behavior.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “As a correction officer, Recaldo Fray swore an oath to uphold the law, not break it. Fray violated this oath when along with Kaheem Palmer, they allegedly committed an armed robbery. Frey compounded his problems by later attempting to intimidate his victim. Frey and Palmer now face significant time inside a jail cell. The FBI’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force will continue to put violent offenders – no matter their profession – behind bars.”
WCDOC Commissioner Joseph Spano said: “It’s both disgraceful and upsetting when one of our correction officers betrays their oath to serve and protect as sworn peace officers. Moreover, the alleged actions of this individual tarnishes the reputation of all honest and dedicated correction officers. I commend all of the involved law enforcement agencies for their dedication to uncovering this unlawful behavior and our Major Case Squad for providing assistance. Mr. Fray’s employment with the Westchester Department of Correction has been terminated.”
As alleged in the Complaints against FRAY and PALMER:
On or about December 4, 2023, FRAY and PALMER forced entry into a residence in Newburgh, New York, restrained the two victims inside, and stole, at gunpoint, various items of value, including a large quantity of marijuana and approximately $4,500 in cash. FRAY then returned to the same residence on or about December 16, 2023, and attempted to threaten and intimidate a victim.
* * *
FRAY, 31, of Mount Vernon, New York, is charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of use, carrying, and possession of a firearm, which was brandished, in furtherance of a crime of violence, which carries a minimum sentence of seven years in prison to run consecutive to any other sentence imposed and a maximum sentence of life in prison; and one count of tampering with a witness or victim, and attempting to do the same, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
PALMER, 31, of Mount Vernon, New York, is charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of use, carrying, and possession of a firearm, which was brandished, in furtherance of a crime of violence, which carries a minimum sentence of seven years in prison to run consecutive to any other sentence imposed and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The minimum and maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force and the City of Newburgh Police Department. Mr. Williams also thanked the Westchester County Department of Correction and its major case squad for their assistance in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Margaret N. Vasu and Jennifer N. Ong are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaints and the description of the Complaints set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.