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Press Release

Houston Men Get Significant Sentences For Bank Robberies

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

HOUSTON – Earnest Elonzo Hamilton, 46, and Kevin Joseph Riggs, 44, both of Houston, have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions related to the aggravated robbery of two area Wells Fargo banks, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Both men entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence on Aug. 12, 2014.

Today, U.S. Circuit Judge Gregg Costa, sitting by designation, handed Hamilton a sentence of 96 months for the aggravated bank robberies which will be served consecutively to another 10 years for brandishing a firearm during commission of the crimes. He was further ordered to serve an additional 24 months for a supervised release violation from a prior bank robbery, resulting in a total sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Riggs was ordered to serve a 97-month-term for the aggravated bank robberies as well as another seven years for brandishing a firearm to be served consecutively resulting in a total 181 months of federal imprisonment. They must also serve five years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms. At the hearing, the court noted that although both were convicted in the two robberies, they were actually held accountable for a total 17 robberies in the Houston area and were ordered to pay restitution as part of their sentence.

Riggs and Hamilton were arrested following the July 25, 2013, robbery of the Wells Fargo at 1681 W FM 646 in League City. They also plead guilty to robbing the Wells Fargo Bank at 2202 FM 2920 in Spring on Feb. 13, 2013. Employees at each of the banks described being threatened at gun point and ordered to comply with the robbers’ demands.

Following the July 25, 2013, robbery, witnesses in the bank reported seeing the robbers leave in a red minivan and gave descriptions of them and their clothing. A responding officer located the minivan and began pursuit. Soon after, the two suspects abandoned the vehicle while it was rolling to a stop and fled on foot. Hamilton was seen dropping one gun while he got out of the vehicle as well as a second pistol, black ski mask and money near a gutter. The sweatshirt and gloves worn by Riggs was also recovered in a backyard nearby. Authorities captured Riggs as he attempted to leave a subdivision on foot, while Hamilton was found hiding in some bushes.

Officers discovered that the minivan and one of the pistols were stolen.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force, which is comprised of personnel from the FBI, Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the League City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Basile is prosecuting the case.

Updated April 30, 2015