U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Joseph Licata, 52, of Buffalo, NY, on charges of bank robbery, entering a bank with intent to commit a larceny, Hobbs Act robbery, and escape from custody. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
According to the indictment and a previously filed criminal complaint, in mid to late-January 2020, the defendant escaped from the custody of the United States Penitentiary Coleman II in Sumterville, Florida. On January 21, 2020, the defendant entered the M&T Bank branch on Grant Street in Buffalo, and passed a demand note to the victim-teller. The note threatened the teller if the teller did not give him cash. The victim-teller complied and gave Licata U.S. currency. Later that same day, the defendant entered a Speedway Gas Station on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo and demanded cash. The victim-clerk complied and gave U.S. currency to the defendant. Later that same day, the defendant entered a Speedway Gas Station on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo and demanded cash. The victim-clerk complied and gave U.S. currency to the defendant. Law enforcement officers arrested Licata and found him in possession of currency taken during the robberies.
In 2010, Licata, having previously been convicted in federal court of committing a bank robbery in Buffalo, was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison.
The indictment is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.