PROVIDENCE — Justin L. Worley, aka the “Bearded Bandit,” pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence Thursday, March 7, to nine counts of bank robbery, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced in a statement.Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, Mr. Worley, 34, admitted to the court that he robbed eight financial institutions in Rhode Island between April 16, 2012, and Sept. 18, 2012, and that he robbed one financial institution in Seekonk, Mass., on Feb. 23, 2012. Mr. Worley admitted that he robbed the banks of a total of $32,633.
Mr. Worley was arrested at a motel in Seekonk on Sept. 19, 2012, by East Providence and Seekonk police.
The robberies were investigated by the Barrington, Cranston, East Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket, Seekonk and Warwick Police Departments and the FBI.
Mr. Worley, however, refuted charges he threatened bank tellers with bodily harm or death in the committing the crimes.
Mr. Worley is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24, 2013. The maximum statutory penalty for bank robbery is 20 years in federal prison; a fine of up to $250,000; and a term of supervised release of three years.
Mr. Worley has been detained in federal custody since November 15, 2012.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland and Paul F. Daly, Jr., the latter an East Providence native.