U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger claims that a 45-year-old man from Union County has admitted to his involvement in a series of armed robberies at convenience and liquor stores in New Jersey and New York.
On Wednesday in federal court in Newark, Jaime Fontanez, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, pled guilty to charges originating from acts committed between August 2018 and February 2019.
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According to federal prosecutors and court filings, he and at least two other men planned and executed 13 armed robberies in Union, Middlesex, and Essex counties, as well as the Bronx and New York counties.
One of the bars had a shooting incident.
Fontanez admitted to five charges of robbery under the Hobbs Act, two counts of brandishing a handgun, and one count of conspiracy to conduct robbery under the Hobbs Act.
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In addition to huge fines, he faces up to 20 years in jail on each Hobbs Act offense when he is sentenced in April 2023.
According to Sellinger, the investigation was spearheaded by FBI Newark Office special agents, with assistance from the Elizabeth, Rahway, Linden, Kenilworth, Union, Woodbridge, Bloomfield, and State Police departments.