Home New Orleans Press Releases 2011 “Paw-Paw Bandit” Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery

“Paw-Paw Bandit” Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2011
  • Eastern District of Louisiana (504) 680-3000

NEW ORLEANS, LA—MICHAEL W. LEWALLEN, age 57, a resident of Metairie, Louisiana, pled guilty to an indictment charging him with bank robbery, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. LEWALLEN was referred to in the local media prior to his capture as the “Paw-Paw Bank Robber” after bank surveillance photographs and descriptions revealed that the same individual was robbing a series of banks.

The charge resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation following the August 5, 2011, robbery of the Whitney National Bank, 4845 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Metairie, Louisiana. With the assistance of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, LEWALLEN was located driving a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle utilized by the robber soon after the robbery, a short distance from the bank. Further, LEWALLEN was found in possession of clothing worn during the bank robbery as well as a large amount of United States currency in the same denominations turned over during the bank robbery.

In connection with his guilty plea to the indictment, LEWALLEN admitted that he also robbed four other banks in the weeks prior to the August 5, 2011 Whitney robbery. In a signed factual basis setting forth the facts supporting the guilty plea, LEWALLEN admitted that he also robbed: 1) the Whitney National Bank at 2609 Veterans Memorial Boulevard on June 10, 2011, 2) the Capital One Bank at 1501 Veterans Memorial Boulevard on June 24, 2011, 3) the Whitney National Bank at 3060 North Causeway Boulevard on July 8, 2011, and 4) the Capital One Bank at 2200 North Causeway Boulevard on July 16, 2011.

If convicted, LEWALLEN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Quinlan, Jr.

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