U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
(717) 221-4482
June 29, 2015

New Jersey Man Federally Charged with Robbing 14 Banks and Two Businesses in Central Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Maryland

HARRISBURG—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a Warren, New Jersey man was charged in a Criminal Information with committing 14 bank robberies and two robberies of businesses over a period of a year in five states. The charges were filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Francis Simmons, age 41, is alleged to have robbed banks and businesses located in Lewisburg, Fogelsville, Dillsburg, Allentown, Wyomissing, Tannersville, Lancaster, Columbia, Hellertown, Hanover, Pennsylvania and Marathon, New York, Swedesboro, New Jersey, Hagerstown, Maryland and Asheboro, North Carolina. The wave of robberies occurred between November 6, 2013 and November 29, 2014. Simmons was allegedly identified by witnesses and surveillance video.

The investigation involved close coordination and cooperation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Cortland County, New York Sheriff Department, and the Police Departments of Upper Macungie Township, Carroll Township, Logan Township, New Jersey, Spring Township, Hagerstown, Maryland, Pocono Township, Lancaster City Bureau of Police, Asheboro, North Carolina, Columbia Borough, Hellertown and Hanover Borough. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daryl F. Bloom.

The government also filed a plea agreement that requires approval of the court.

Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses is 20 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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