NEWARK, N.J. – According to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, a Plainfield man admitted on Monday to robbing seven banks, and attempting to rob an eighth bank while brandishing a firearm; committing one carjacking and attempting to commit three additional carjackings; and taking a hostage at gunpoint while fleeing.

Marlon Peek, 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to Counts One through 11, 13, 15, and 17 of an indictmentpdf. The counts include: seven counts of bank robbery, one count of carjacking, one count of attempted bank robbery with a dangerous weapon, one count of use and brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence, three counts of attempted carjacking, and one count of forced accompaniment in attempting to avoid apprehension for the attempted armed bank robbery.

“This defendant cut a swath of violent crime through central New Jersey for two months, brandishing guns to terrify innocent victims as he robbed banks and carjacked vehicles,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “The excellent work of local and federal law enforcement officers have taken a violent criminal with no regard for the lives and safety of others off the streets. The crimes to which the defendant pleaded guilty justifiably expose him to significant prison time.”

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Peek robbed or attempted to rob the following New Jersey banks:

Bank

Location

Date

TD Bank

Edison, New Jersey

March 17, 2015

Magyar Bank

Edison, New Jersey

March 31, 2015

Investors Bank

Dunellen, New Jersey

April 9, 2015

Wells Fargo Bank (aiding and abetting)

South Plainfield, New Jersey

April 14, 2015

Unity Bank

Middlesex Borough, New Jersey

April 15, 2015

PNC Bank

South Plainfield, New Jersey

April 21, 2015

TD Bank

Springfield, New Jersey

April 21, 2015

Bank of America (armed attempt)

Linden, New Jersey

May 6, 2015


According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From March 2015 to May 2015, Peek and others committed a string of crimes. At each bank, Peek presented a note demanding cash from bank tellers, including, on at least six occasions, statements that he had a gun and would shoot. During the robbery of the TD Bank in Edison, New Jersey, on March 17, 2015, Peek handed a teller a note that read, in part, “I have gun will shoot to kill you have 3 seconds.” In the course of the attempted robbery of the Bank of America, Peek pointed a loaded firearm directly at a bank teller.

Peek admitted that he committed a carjacking in Plainfield on April 21, 2015, between robbing the PNC Bank and the TD Bank that day, and that he committed three attempted carjackings using a loaded firearm directly after attempting to rob the Bank of America in Linden on May 6, 2015. He also admitted that in attempting to flee from the attempted robbery of the Bank of America, he entered a warehouse, took a hostage, held a loaded gun to the hostage’s head, and forced the hostage to accompany him. Law enforcement officers arrived on the scene and ordered Peek to drop his gun. Peek then surrendered his weapon and was arrested.

The seven bank robbery charges to which Peek pleaded guilty each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The four carjacking or attempted carjacking charges to which Peek pleaded guilty each carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The charge of armed attempted bank robbery to which Peek pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

The charge of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, while brandishing the firearm, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The sentence imposed for this charge must be consecutive to the sentence for any other count. This charge also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

The charge of forced accompaniment in attempting to avoid apprehension for the attempted robbery of the Bank of America carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Sentencing is scheduled for June 11.

Peek’s co-defendant, Nathaniel Brown, pleaded guilty to Count Four of the indictment and is scheduled to be sentenced May 30, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley Cohen in Newark; and officers of the Linden Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Hart; the Edison Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas Bryan; the Dunellen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jeffrey E. Nelson; the South Plainfield Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Parker; the Middlesex Police Department, under the direction of Chief Matthew P. Geist; the Plainfield Police Department, under the direction of Director Carl Riley; and the Springfield Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Cook with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

Carpenito also thanked the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

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The defense counsel is Alyssa A. Cimino Esq., in Fairfield.