Lihue bank robber gets 12 years

HONOLULU — A U.S. District Court judge sentenced a convicted Kauai bank robber with a taste for nice hotels to 12 years in federal prison on Monday.

David Verden Williams, Jr., 35, of Sacramento, Calif., pleaded guilty to the first-degree bank robbery of the American Savings Bank in Lihue in 2011.

He was arrested one day after the robbery, Sept. 8, 2011, after he checked into the St. Regis Resort having paid for the upscale room in all cash.

U.S. District Court — Honolulu Judge Susan Oki Mollway ordered Verden Williams to serve 151 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release at the end of his incarceration. He was also ordered to pay $1,833.87 to American Savings Bank in restitution, with about $17,000 already having been recovered at the time of the arrest.

The judge sentenced Verden Williams just two days before an automatic furlough process for federal court employees is scheduled to go into effect. The courts had a 10-day extension to tend to matters after the federal government entered a shutdown last week.

Oki Mollway also ordered Verden Williams to undergo a special assessment and to pay $100 for the testing.

Verden Williams requested to serve his time at the Sheridan, Ore., or Victorville, Calif., federal facilities. The Bureau of Prisons has the right to grant his preference or to assign him to another facility it deems more appropriate or where space or programs are available.

Verden Williams faced a possible 20-year prison term and a fine of up to $250,000 for the first-degree felony offense. His plea deal brought a reduction from those penalties.

According to the plea document, Williams handed a note to a bank teller that read, “I have explosives strapped to me and a gun, empty the drawer now or I will kill you.” The teller handed Williams $17,397, which included $400 in marked currency, two $100 bills, two $50 bills and five $20 bills.

Without the presence of federal officers on the island, Kauai Police Department conducted the investigation and arrest of Williams, who remained a fugitive for less than 24 hours after the robbery. Williams checked into the St. Regis Resort the same night using $1,000 in cash after his debit card was declined. He was apprehended without incident the following day by Kauai police officers at the hotel in Princeville.

“It was through the vigilance and quick action of our police officers, media partners and our citizens that we were able to locate and capture the suspect the following day, which helped us to recover most of the stolen money,” said Kauai Chief of Police Darryl Perry.

U.S. Attorney Flo Nakakuni represented the government in the case.

American Savings Bank did not respond to requests for comment by press time.


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