District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez on Thursday sentenced 21-year-old Jakeem Emmanuel to eight years and six months imprisonment and five years of supervised release, for Hobbs Act Robbery and related gun charges, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced.
Gomez also ordered Emmanuel to perform 400 hours of community service and pay a special assessment of $300.
On August 10, 2016, Emmanuel pleaded guilty to two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a federal crime of violence, and first-degree assault. The federal Hobbs Act, passed in 1946, provides that anyone who in any way obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires to do so is in violation of the act can be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years. It is a tool that can be used in the justice system to move an offense from the local jurisdiction to the federal courts.
On March 3, 2016, a federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment, which was a result of an investigation into Hobbs Act robberies of two jewelry stores on St. Thomas – Signature Jewelers on Aug. 19, 2015, and 3G’s Jewelry and Repair on Sept. 14, 2015. According to the indictment, Emmanuel and other individuals conspired to rob the stores and brandished weapons to threaten and intimidate store employees. The robbers used duct tape to bind and gag the victims and then fled the store with cash and merchandise.
This case is a result of an investigation by the FBI and the V.I. Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna A. Vlasova.