Thursday, September 20, 2012

Luzerne Man Sentenced to 94 Months’ Imprisonment for Getaway Driver Role in the Armed Robbery of a Hanover Township Bank

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that today in Scranton, Senior United States District Court Judge James M. Munley sentenced Joseph Swerdon, age 54, formerly of Luzerne, Pennsylvania, to 94 months’ imprisonment for his role as the getaway driver for the armed robbery of a Hanover Township Bank.

Swerdon previously pleaded guilty to a criminal information that alleged that on October 30, 2010, Swerdon acted as the getaway driver during the armed bank robbery of the M&T Bank in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania. The criminal information alleged that Swerdon and his co-conspirators made away with $17,808.32. In addition, Swerdon pleaded guilty to a second count that alleged he conspired with others to carry firearms in connection with that bank robbery.

According to Assistant United States Attorney John Gurganus, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at the trial of Kareem Shabazz established that on October 30, 2010, Joseph Swerdon drove Kareem Shabazz, Shaelyn Joy Davis, and James Russell to the M&T Bank. Shabazz, Davis, and Russell entered the bank brandishing weapons, including pistols and a sawed-off shotgun. Shabazz was wearing a mask and wielding the short-barreled shotgun.

Shabazz and another robber vaulted over the teller counter, and one of the armed bank robbers closed the blinds so no person could see in from the outside. The robbers ordered the bank employees and a bank customer to get on the ground. The robbers then left the bank with $17,808.32, and Swerdon drove two of the robbers to New York, where they met with other conspirators to divide the money.

Judge Munley previously sentenced Kareem Shabazz, a career offender, to life imprisonment; and Shaelyn Joy Davis to 90 months’ imprisonment.

In noting the sentences, Mr. Smith praised the work of the FBI, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Hanover Township Police Department in solving this case.

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