ELIZABETH, NJ — An Elizabeth man was sentenced Nov. 16 to 22 years in prison for robbing seven New Jersey banks at gunpoint and attempting to rob an eighth bank at the time of his arrest on July 30, 2012, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Claude Williams, 64, had previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit bank robbery, bank robbery and using a firearm during a crime of violence. McNulty imposed the sentence in Newark Federal Court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: Williams admitted that, between Sept. 26, 2011 and July 30, 2012, he robbed seven banks and attempted to rob an eighth bank, all at gunpoint. He used a similar procedure for each robbery: after entering the bank armed with a handgun and wearing a bandana, hooded sweatshirt or jacket and white gloves, Williams vaulted over the counter and demanded money from bank tellers at gunpoint.
Prior to the July 12, 2012 robbery, an unarmed, off-duty police officer was parked across from the Unity Bank and observed Williams leave the bank, get into the rear of the getaway car and crouch down to hide. After noting the license plate number, the officer followed the car. During the plea hearing, Williams admitted that he had exited the getaway car, walked toward the officer’s car and pointed his firearm at the officer, forcing the officer to leave the scene.
On July 30, 2012, Williams was arrested after law enforcement observed him driving in the vicinity of the Unity Bank in North Plainfield on July 27, 2012 and July 28, 2012. He admitted that he planned to rob the bank at gunpoint.
In addition to the prison term, McNulty sentenced Williams to serve five years of supervised release. Andrea Dorsey, 56, of Plainfield, who admitted that she had served as a lookout and getaway driver for three of the robberies, was sentenced to 87 months in prison, and Teresa Webb, 45, of Plainfield, who admitted that she was the getaway driver for one of the robberies, was sentenced to 54 months in prison.