The Case of the Polite Bank Robber | USA v. Perez

Roberto Arturo Perez robs two banks. He was not carrying a weapon and gave the teller a note that read, “Put $5000 in an envelope. Put the note inside as well. Stay calm. Do this and no one will get hurt. Press the alarm after I walk out. I have kids to feed. Thanks.”

He pleads guilty to two counts of violating 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2113(a). The PSI recommends a two-level enhancement for making threats of death, under USSG Sec. 2B3.1(b)(2)(F). District Court sentences Perez to the low end of the guideline (including the enhancement) to 46 months imprisonment.

All bank robberies involve threats of harm of some type in order to qualify as robberies under § 2113(a), a rule subjecting generic threats of harm, without more, to the threat-of-death enhancement would effectively render the threat-of-death enhancement applicable to every bank robbery under § 2113(a).

Treating all threats in the course of a robbery as threats of death would defeat the distinction the [threat-of-death] enhancement seeks to capture.

The court held that his actions would not have caused a reasonable person to fear for their life, and he should not have received the enhancement.

Interestingly, the government was agreeing with the defendant on appeal. It is rare to see opposing sides agree on appeal. The 11th Circuit appointed a lawyer as amicus to defend the district court’s ruling.

Full Case:

Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM | Criminal Defense and Business Law

Want to learn about our recent victories?

Do you want to buy our Lawstache merchandise? Maybe a t-shirt?

Are you are a Russian speaker? Вы говорите по-русски?

185 West F Street Suite 100-D
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 357-6677

Based in San Diego, CA
Licensed: California, Nevada, and Federal Courts

The San Diego-based business litigation and criminal defense attorneys at LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM are experienced and dedicated professionals singularly focused on one goal: achieving the best results for our clients. Through our hard work and expertise, we guarantee all of our clients that we will diligently protect their rights and zealously pursue justice. Our clients deserve nothing less!