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Two suspects indicted for 11 robberies of jewelers & owners of luxury watches

On the date listed above, the U.S. Attorney’s  Office for the Southern District of New York announced that Victor Rivera, 30, and Johan Araujo, 40, were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, attempted robbery, attempted extortion, interstate transportation of stolen property, money laundering, and firearms offenses.

The full Press release is posted below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 26, 2021

Two Men Charged In Connection With 11 Robberies And Attempted Robberies Of Luxury Watches In New York City, New Jersey, And Long Island

            Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Dermot Shea, Police Commissioner for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a Superseding Indictment charging VICTOR RIVERA, 30, and JOHAN ARAUJO, 40, with conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, attempted robbery, attempted extortion, interstate transportation of stolen property, money laundering, and firearms offenses.  ARAUJO was arrested on July 23 and presented and arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker.  RIVERA was previously charged in an Indictment in November 2020 and is currently in custody.  This case is assigned to United States District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged in the Indictment, the defendants committed a series of armed robberies and attempted robberies of jewelers and other owners of luxury watches in and around New York City.  In one of these robberies, a victim was shot.  Thanks to the outstanding work of the NYPD and Special Agents of our Office, time ran out on the defendants, who now face federal charges for their alleged crimes.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said: “The charges show that while criminals often believe they can operate in plain sight with apparent impunity, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners exist to shatter that notion and bring those responsible to justice.  I thank our colleagues at the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York for their dedication and hard work building this case and ensuring these two alleged dangerous criminals will be held to account.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed last Friday in Manhattan federal court and based on statements made in court proceedings and filings[1]:

From at least in or about October 2019 up to and including November 2020, RIVERA, ARAUJO, and others known and unknown agreed to rob victims of luxury watches worth up to hundreds of thousands of dollars each.  The watches owned by victims targeted in the robberies included Richard Mille, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe as part of the jewelers’ businesses based in Manhattan’s Diamond District.  RIVERA used guns to commit several of the robberies, and in one robbery, shot a victim, who survived.

The 11 robberies and attempted robberies included the following:

  1. On October 3, 2019, RIVERA and a co-conspirator robbed a jeweler in Long Island City, New York, of, among other things, a Richard Mille watch worth over $250,000.
  2. On October 25, 2019, RIVERA and a co-conspirator robbed a jeweler in Jamaica, New York, of, among other things, a Rolex watch worth over $150,000.
  3. On December 10, 2019, RIVERA, ARAUJO, and a co-conspirator robbed a jeweler in Brooklyn, New York, of, among other things, a Patek Philippe watch worth over $160,000 and a diamond necklace worth over $77,000.  During the robbery, a firearm was shown to the victim.
  4. On January 14, 2020, RIVERA and a co-conspirator robbed of a jeweler in Rego Park, New York, of, among other things, a Richard Mille watch worth over $500,000.
  5. On February 16, 2020, RIVERA and ARAUJO robbed a jeweler in Jamaica Estates, New York, of, among other things, an Audemars Piguet watch worth over $28,000.
  6. On February 20, 2020, RIVERA and a co-conspirator robbed an individual in Long Island City, New York, of, among other things, an Audemars Piguet watch worth over $125,000.
  7. On June 11, 2020, RIVERA and ARAUJO robbed a jeweler in Brooklyn, New York, of, among other things, a Richard Mille watch worth over $148,000.  During the robbery, a firearm was shown to the victim and a victim was shot.
  8. On July 6, 2020, RIVERA and a co-conspirator robbed a jeweler in Hoboken, New Jersey, of, among other things, a Richard Mille watch worth over $81,000.  Following the robbery, RIVERA and others transported the stolen watch from New Jersey to New York.
  9. On July 20, 2020, RIVERA and a co-conspirator participated in an attempted robbery of a jeweler in Queens, New York, attempting to steal a Richard Mille watch worth over $180,000.
  10. On August 2, 2020, RIVERA and a co-conspirator robbed an individual in the vicinity of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, of, among other things, a Richard Mille watch worth over $250,000.  During the robbery, a firearm was shown to a victim.  Following the robbery, RIVERA and others transported the stolen watch from New Jersey to New York.
  11. On October 27, 2020, RIVERA and a co-conspirator robbed a jeweler in the vicinity of Woodbury, New York, of, among other things, an Audemars Piguet watch worth over $26,000 and assorted jewels and gold links worth over $60,000.  During the robbery, a firearm was shown to a victim.

*                *                *

A chart containing the names, charges, and maximum and minimum penalties for the defendants is set forth below.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Police Department and the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  Ms. Strauss also thanked the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Englewood Cliffs Police Department, the Weehawken Police Department, and the Nassau County Police Department for their assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Mathew Andrews, Andrew K. Chan, and Celia Cohen are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAX. PENALTY

  Count One Hobbs Act Robbery Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1951

VICTOR RIVERA

JOHAN ARAUJO

20 years in prison
Count Two Money Laundering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Three Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Four Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Five Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA

JOHAN ARAUJO

20 years
Count Six Firearms offense

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c) and 2

VICTOR RIVERA Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of seven years in prison

Count Seven Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Eight Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA

JOHAN ARAUJO

20 years
Count Nine Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA

JOHAN ARAUJO

20 years
Count Ten Firearms offense

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c) and 2

VICTOR RIVERA Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

Count Eleven Attempted Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Twelve Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 10 years
Count Thirteen Attempted Hobbs Act Robbery and Extortion

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Fourteen Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Fifteen Firearms offense

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c) and 2

VICTOR RIVERA Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of seven years in prison

Count Sixteen Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 10 years
Count Seventeen Hobbs Act Robbery

18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2

VICTOR RIVERA 20 years
Count Eighteen Firearms offense

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c) and 2

VICTOR RIVERA Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of seven years in prison


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, the description of the Indictment, and the statements made in related court filings and proceedings set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s):
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Contact:
James Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number:
21-193
Updated July 26, 2021

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