Three Individuals Indicted on Hobbs Act Robbery, Related Gun Charges, and Money Laundering
St. Thomas, USVI – On September 9, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven count indictment against Paul Girard, 30, Shaquan Prentice, 33, and Etherneal Simon, 48, charging Girard and Prentince with two Hobbs Act robberies, conspiracy, and related gun charges, and Girard and Simon with money laundering, United States Attorney Gretchen C. F. Shappert announced. Girard, Prentice and Simon made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller. Girard and Prentice were detained pending trial.
The seven count indictment is the result of an investigation into Hobbs Act robberies of two jewelry stores on St. Thomas: Signature Jewelers on August 19, 2015, and 3G’s Jewelry and Repair on September 14, 2015. According to the indictment, Girard, Prentice, and other co-conspirators conspired to rob the stores and brandished weapons to threaten and intimidate store employees. The robbers used duct tape to bind and gag the victims and then fled the store with cash and merchandise. According to the indictment, Simon assisted Girard to launder money obtained from these robberies.
If convicted, these individuals face up to 20 years on each of the Hobbs Act robbery and money laundering; a mandatory 7- and 25-year consecutive sentences for each brandishing of a firearm charge; and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virgin Islands Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte.
United States Attorney Shappert reminds the public that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.