Pedro Benitez, 21, pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence on March 20. He was sentenced to 130 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and $71,395 in restitution.
“Pedro Benitez thought committing armed bank robberies was a good way to get money, but he learned that it is just a good way to end up in prison,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “The cooperative efforts of federal and local law enforcement agencies brought this crew to justice and prevented them from endangering other bank employees, customers, law enforcement officers and innocent bystanders.”
According to charges, on Sept. 20, 2017, Benitez entered a Queens County Savings Bank in Fresh Meadows, pulled out a gun and ordered customers and employees of the bank to the floor. He then gained access to the area behind the tellers’ counter and stole over $50,000 in cash that had been delivered to the bank earlier in the day and was laid out on a table in a room adjacent to the teller’s area.
Benitez also admitted to participating in three bank robberies in Nassau County last year. In each robbery, Benitez entered the bank armed with a gun and robbed the employees of the banks’ cash. In total, Benitez and the crew stole over $70,000 from four banks between July and September of 2017.
Two other members of the bank robbery crew previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Two additional members of the robbery crew are currently awaiting trial.