An Illinois man is facing federal criminal robbery charges for robbing a PNC bank in Skokie earlier this month. The man entered the bank, slipped a note to the teller, and demanded that she give him cash. Police caught the man in a neighboring Walmart as he attempted to change into a disguise. The man, who has three prior robbery convictions, is also suspected of participating in an unsolved Chicago robbery earlier this year.
Robbery is a crime on both the federal and state level. In this case, the accused faces federal bank robbery charges. The federal crime of bank robbery is defined in 18 USC 2113. There are two main ways you can be charged with federal criminal robbery under this Code section. The first is for forcible bank robbery. 18 USC 2113(a) makes it a crime to use violence, force, or intimidation to take (or attempt to take) property, money, or anything of value from the care, custody, control, management, or possession of a bank. Essentially, it is a federal crime to use force or intimidation to take something of value from a banking facility. Federal bank robbery charged under 18 USC 2113(a) is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
The second way you can be charged with robbery is for a non-forcible act. 18 USC 2113(b) makes it a crime to take or carry away any property, money, or thing of value exceeding $1,000 from the care, custody, management, or possession of a banking facility with the intent to steal it. So, it is a crime to take something worth more than $1,000 from a banking facility without permission, even if you do not exhibit any force or intimidation. This can be done discreetly or by distracting or deceiving a bank teller. Federal bank robbery charged under 18 USC 2113(b) is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.
In this case, the alleged perpetrator will likely be charged under 18 USC 2113(a) for the PNC bank robbery. There are a few reasons for this. First, the amount he stole from the PNC bank was less than $1,000. Section 2113(b) explicitly requires a theft of property exceeding $1,000. Since the Illinois man only took $285 from the bank, he has not satisfied all of the elements of Section 2113(b). Second, the FBI and federal prosecutors handling his case will likely argue that the act of slipping the bank teller a note was enough to satisfy the “force or intimidation” element of Section 2113(a). The contents of the note are unknown, but the language used was enough to persuade her to give the man cash.
The accused has three prior federal bank robbery convictions, for which he was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison. He was actually out on supervised release when he committed this most recent crime at PNC bank. In addition to having his early release revoked, the man will also face charges for this latest bank robbery. Since he will likely be charged under 2113(a), he could face an additional 20 years in federal prison.
The judge, in this case, may be hesitant to offer a lenient sentence for the most recent bank robbery. The fact that he was already convicted on three prior occasions, and is suspected to be involved in a larger Chicago heist, will certainly factor into judge’s sentencing determination. A person’s criminal history can be used as an aggravating factor when determining a suitable punishment for a crime.
If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois it is important to distinguish whether you have been charged with a federal or Illinois state offense. Federal criminal charges are generally more serious. These crimes are charged by the federal government. The federal government has seemingly endless resources with which to prosecute alleged criminals and has recently indicated it will not be soft on crime. It is important to seek out the assistance of an experienced and qualified federal criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a federal crime.