Bank Robber Sentenced to Federal Prison

Last Thursday, convicted bank robber Amanuel Moreno, 21, stood before U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in a federal courtroom in Oakland. He listened as Rogers sentenced him to five years and 10 months in federal prison. One of the charges that led to the sentence stemmed from Moreno’s failed robbery attempt at the Chase Bank at South Shore Center on Dec. 6, 2012. All told, Moreno’s charges included five bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies.

Moreno’s lawyer, Joyce Leavitt an assistant federal public defender, told the court that that her client was robbing banks to support his pregnant, homeless girlfriend. Rogers could have sentenced Moreno to 20 years for each of his five robbery counts.

These robberies were not Moreno’s first. Police arrested him in 2011 for robbery, which Moreno pleaded down to grand theft. He was on probation for that charge when he went on the seven-bank spree that sent him to federal prison.

During that spree, Moreno robbed three Bank of the West branches with takes that ranged from $25 in Hayward to $3,321 in Oakland. He also robbed a U.S. Bank branch in San Leandro and a Wells Fargo branch in Hayward. Attempts to rob Chase Bank branches in Hayward and in Alameda were foiled. Moreno’s spree netted him some $6,100.

Leavitt argued for a lighter sentence. She said that Moreno had a difficult childhood: his 14-year-old mother gave him up, he never met his father and turned to drugs as a teenager. She told Rogers that although Moreno would claim he had a gun, he was actually unarmed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian C. Lewis wove a more frightening tale for the judge. He said that Moreno passed the tellers threatening notes demanding money. The notes informed the tellers that Moreno had a gun. Lewis said that Moreno got bolder during his last three robberies: two on Dec. 18, 2012, and one on Jan. 6, 2013, when the convicted robber threatened to shoot the tellers.