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Court Convicts Diamond District Robbery Crew Chief

Dec 16, 2009 12:58 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT...  Hector Rivera was convicted on all of the counts filed against him for orchestrating a robbery and operating an extortion crew that carried out hits in the New York Diamond District. He will be sentenced on April 8, 2010. The FBI reported that Rivera, 57, planned and executed multiple robberies and acts of extortion, often involving firearms, between 2002 and 2008.

Rivera was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and three counts of Hobbs Act robbery or attempted robbery, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He was also convicted of two counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

He was specifically convicted for the November 29, 2005 robbery of Doppelt & Greenwald Diamonds , as well as for brandishing a gun during that hit. He was charged with robbing a FedEx delivery truck on December 20, 2007, which had been assumed to be carrying diamonds, and for the attempted hijacking of a FedEx tractor-trailer on December 4, 2008.

On December 20, 2007, in the vicinity of 48th Street and 11th Avenue in Manhattan, the FBI determined that two men had displayed firearms and police badges upon approaching the driver of aFedEx tractor-trailer believed to be carrying several million dollars worth of diamonds. The driver was removed from the FedEx truck at gunpoint and handcuffed and kidnapped. The FedEx truck was then driven to a loading dock in Brooklyn. When the defendants were unable to unload the contents of the truck, it was driven to a different location, where it was abandoned. After being held for more than four hours, the driver was finally released.

Through surveillance and consensually recorded telephone conversations, in-person meetings between Rivera and a cooperating witness and court-authorized wiretaps on two cellular telephones, law enforcement officials learned that a second hijacking was scheduled to take place on December 4, 2008. Rivera was planning this hit and the FBI was able to observe Rivera and others ahead of the heist. Intercepted wire and electronic communications between Rivera and others revealed, among other things, that Rivera was involved in recruiting people to participate in the robbery.

In addition to the single Hobbs conspiracy count and three counts of Hobbs Act robbery or attempted robbery, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, Rivera's first firearm conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. His second firearms conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life. Each of the six charges also carries a maximum fine of the greatest of either $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense.

LH

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