By Naeisha Rose
A getaway driver for a crew of bank robbers who stole approximately $70,000 from four different banks in Nassau County and Queens pleaded guilty to his crimes last week, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District.
Troy Taveras, 22, of Far Rockaway, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and weapons possession Sept. 25 in federal court in Central Islip, according to the spokesman.
The lone bank in Queens that was hit by the bank robbers was the Queens County Savings Bank — located at 61-49 188 St. in Fresh Meadows — according to an indictment.
On Sept. 20, 2017, Taveras drove the ringleader of the heist, Pedro Benitez, and others to the bank and his co-conspirators branded firearms demanding money, according to an indictment. Taveras then helped them to flee from that bank with approximately $50,360 in cash.
Benitez and co-conspirators Quincy Hall and Damilola Saka, all from Far Rockaway, pleaded guilty to their involvement in the robberies, which also took place throughout Nassau County at a Roslyn Savings Bank, a Bridgehampton Savings Bank and a TD Bank, according to the indictment.
The last alleged bank robber, Leroy Scott, also of Far Rockaway, is expected to have a hearing Oct. 9 before the U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert.
Taveras acted as a getaway driver July 14, 2017, at the Roslyn bank where his crew stole $2,216 in cash, and Aug. 21, 2017, when they stole $12,068 in cash from the Bridgehampton bank, according to the indictment.
Members of his crew also robbed a TD Bank Aug. 7, 2017, according to the indictment. The amount stolen from that bank has not been made public.
Benitez pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm in March, and was sentenced to 130 months in prison in August, according to a spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In April, Saka pled guilty to armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm and is awaiting his Oct. 12 sentencing, according to a spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Hall also pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm. His sentencing date has yet to be determined.
Taveras faces up to 25 years in prison for the bank robbery and a minimum of seven years and a maximum of life in prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s spokesman. His sentencing is set for Feb. 15, 2019.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose