Life in prison for robbing a cell phone store?

Federal authorities say a man from New Jersey, who was convicted of three armed bank robberies in 2007, now potentially faces life in prison after being convicted of robbing a cell phone store at gunpoint.

Following a week-long trial in Newark federal court, 50-year-old Kenneth Graham of Newark was convicted of one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Details of the case

U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger's office says on January 18, 2021, Graham was in a cell phone store in East Orange when he pulled out a gun and pointed it at a store employee. He ordered the employee to place several cell phones from a display case and cash from the register into a bag.

Historical cell phone records indicate that Graham’s cell phone was in East Orange near the store around the time of the robbery and pictures on his cell phone showed him wearing a sweatshirt with a distinct logo. In video surveillance footage from the robbery, Graham wore that same sweatshirt, according to officials.

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Potential life in prison

  • The Hobbs Act robbery charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison.
  • The count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and in this case, a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison because Graham was previously convicted in 2007 in connection with three gunpoint bank robberies in New Jersey.
  • Each count carries a potential $250,000 fine.

Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the FBI and members of the East Orange Police Department with the investigation leading to Graham's conviction.

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