YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A judge today sentenced an ex-con from West New York to 17½ in federal prison for the frightening holdup of a Weehawken bank and its customers .
Maximo Castro, 32, was convicted in December 2011 by jurors in Trenton of the $5,700 robbery just seven months earlier.
Castro (the former Carl Worthington) entered the TD Bank branch on Park Avenue on May 31, 2011, waved a gold gun and “made threatening statements” while throwing a black bag at a teller with orderes to fill it.
Besides taking $5,100 from the bank, authorities said, he stole nearly $600 from two customers making deposits, federal authorities said.
As he was leaving, he pointed the gun and ordered everyone to the floor, they said.
FBI agents arrested Castro five weeks later in West New York and a federal grand jury indictment followed in less than 10 days.
Castro had already spent more than seven years behind bars in connection with several crimes, including a kidnapping out of Bergen County and a Hudson County robbery, before the holdup. He also served prison time in Tennessee.
Federal sentencing guidlines allowed the judge today to go as high as 25 years on the bank robbery conviction, along with a mandatory minimum of five years for the firearm count — which, in some cases, brings a lifetime sentence.
In addition to the 17½ — just about all of which Castro must serve, under federal law — U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson sentenced him to five years of supervised release and ordered Castro to pay restitution of $4,843.
The government’s case was presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabiana Pierre-Louis and Acting Deputy Criminal Division Chief Serina Vash of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Bank surveillance images: Courtesy FBI NEWARK
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