CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: It didn’t take long today for federal jurors to convict an ex-con of ordering everyone in a Weehawken bank to hit the deck at gunpoint and fleeing with $5,700 — $600 of it from customers.
Federal prosecutors proved to the jury in Trenton that 31-year-old Maximo Castro (the former Carl Worthington) was the robber who entered the TD Bank branch on Park Avenue on May 31, waved the gold gun and “made threatening statements” while throwing a black bag at the teller with orders to fill in.
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 July 6 in West New York, where he was living, and a federal grand jury indictment followed nine days later.
That meant he had tasted freedom for a little over 6 months after spending more than seven years behind bars in connection with several crimes, including a kidnapping out of Bergen County and a Hudson County robbery.
Worthington, who remains held without bond pending sentencing, also served prison time in Tennessee.
Federal jurors went into deliberations this morning and returned a verdict this afternoon, convicting Castro of both counts of the indictment on which he was tried: armed bank robbery and possession of a firearm in furtherance of the holdup.
As with most bank robbers tried in federal court, Castro is looking at hard time. The judge could even go as high as 25 years on the bank robbery conviction, along with the mandatory minimum of five years for the firearm count — which, in some cases, brings a lifetime sentence. Somehow, Castro will also have to pay back what he stole, along with any fines the judge imposes.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 5.
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.
Castro was represented by a pair of federal public defenders, Lisa Mack and David Schafer.
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