Former Customs Employee Pleads Guilty To Auctioning Online A Customs Declaration Form Signed By A Celebrity
Defendant Used Vehicle He Carjacked That Morning To Commit Bank Robbery
STATESVILLE, N.C. – A federal jury sitting in Statesville returned a guilty verdict on Thursday, May 15, 2014, against Darius Donneal Freeman, 32, and Wincy Joseph, 29, both of Charlotte, for armed bank robbery and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence charges, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The jury also found Freeman guilty of carjacking and a second possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, Chief Matthew A. Selves of the Troutman Police Department and Chief Rodney D. Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
According to filed court documents and trial proceedings:In or about May 20, 2013, at approximately 5:15 a.m. Freeman carjacked a victim at gunpoint at a Circle K gas station located on South Boulevard in Charlotte. Later that morning, Freeman and Joseph used the carjacked vehicle to rob a Bank of America branch in Troutman, N.C. Soon after the bank opened, Freeman entered the bank wearing a black cap, sunglasses, gloves and brandishing a silver handgun. Freeman jumped on the tellers’ counter and demanded cash. Joseph entered the bank behind Freeman, dressed in a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head, sunglasses and gloves, and demanded cash from another bank employee. The defendants then fled the scene with approximately $5,100 in cash, driving off in the car Freeman had jacked earlier that day. Law enforcement later found the car abandoned on Interstate-77 in Iredell County. The defendants were identified five days later, following a tip from a concerned citizen. Freeman was arrested on June 6, 2013. Joseph was arrested on June 13, 2013.
The armed bank robbery charge carries a maximum prison term of 25 years and a $250,000 fine. The possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence offense carries a minimum of 7 consecutive years and a maximum of life in prison. Freeman also faces a maximum prison term of 15 years and a $250,000 for the carjacking charge. He also faces a minimum of 32 years and a maximum of life in prison for the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (carjacking). Both defendants remain in custody. Sentencing dates for the defendants have not yet been set.
The investigation was led by the FBI, the Troutman Police Department and CMPD. U.S. Attorney Tompkins also thanked the Mooresville Police Department, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and the Statesville Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Greene and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca McNerney. Ms. McNerney is a state prosecutor with the Iredell County District Attorney’s Office, and was assigned by District Attorney Sarah M. Kirkman to serve as a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.