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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Former Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Bank Robbery And Witness Tampering

CONTACT:          Barbara Burns              
PHONE:            (716) 843-5817
FAX:              (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.–U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Clifford B. Smith, 34, formerly of Buffalo, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William M. Skretny, to bank robbery and tampering with a witness. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who is handling the case, stated that between September 2011 and November 2011, Smith robbed four HSBC Bank locations throughout the City of Buffalo. On each occasion, the defendant presented the teller with a note and threatened a gun. During the last robbery, Smith brandished a gun and robbed three tellers.

One of the HSBC branches was robbed twice within two weeks and one of the tellers recognized Smith from the earlier robbery. In both robberies, the defendant wore disguises including large glasses. Smith also tampered with a witness by contacting a person from prison and encouraging her to lie to and say that she was with Smith when the robberies occurred. The defendant later sent the woman a letter providing her with some of the dates that he wanted her to use for his failed alibi.

The investigation is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Buffalo Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, and the Philadelphia Office of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko.             

Sentencing is scheduled for May 6, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Skretny.

Updated December 29, 2014