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Member of Armed Robbery Crew Sentenced to Four Years in Prison in Connection with Middlesex County Thefts

NEWARK—Erik Prascak, a member of an armed robbery crew that primarily targeted businesses and homes in Middlesex County, New Jersey, was sentenced today to 48 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Prascak, 22, of Milltown, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz on March 30, 2011 to one count of an indictment charging him with conspiring to obstruct commerce in connection with his role in the robbery of a home on May 21, 2009. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Faith S. Hochberg in Newark federal court.

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

Prascak admitted he conspired with others, including Joseph Passalaqua, 56, of East Brunswick, New Jersey; Raffaele Danise, 25, of East Brunswick; and others to rob the home of victims “M.M.” and “P.M.” in Milltown on May 21, 2009. The robbery was at gunpoint, and the victims were bound with plastic zip ties while the robbery took place.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hochberg sentenced Prascak to three years of supervised release. Prascak was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $46,578.

All of the defendants have previously pleaded guilty. Dustin Groemm and Brian Parolin were sentenced by Judge Hochberg on June 22, 2011. Groemm was sentenced to 75 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to make restitution of $20,894. Parolin was sentenced to 79 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was fined $3,000. Jonah Paul and Rashawn Landin were sentenced by Judge Hochberg on September 27, 2011. Paul was sentenced to 219 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to make restitution in an amount to be determined at a later date. Landin was sentenced to 108 months in prison, three years of supervised release, fined $1,000, and ordered to pay $46,578 in restitution. Joshua Lally was sentenced by Judge Hochberg on September 29, 2011. Lally was sentenced to 33 months in prison, two years of supervised release, fined $10,000, and ordered to pay $151,317 in restitution. Passalaqua was sentenced by Judge Hochberg on November 14, 2011. Passalaqua was sentenced to 190 months in prison, three years of supervised release, fined $5,000, and ordered to pay $67,472 in restitution. Raffaele Danise was sentenced by Judge Hochberg on November 17, 2011. Danise was sentenced to 145 months in prison, five years of supervised release, fined $15,000, and ordered to pay $214,959 in restitution. The remaining defendant awaits sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, for conducting the investigation. He also thanked the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Bruce J. Kaplan; the Woodbridge Police Department, under the direction of Director Robert Hubner; the Sayreville Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Zebrowski; and the Milltown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ray Geipel, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa M. Colone and Robert Frazer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Bruce S. Rosen Esq., Florham Park, New Jersey.

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