U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Brett Amante (39, Jacksonville) to nine years and six months in federal prison for bank robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. The court also ordered Amante to forfeit the firearms and ammunition he had possessed in connection with the offenses. Amante had pleaded guilty on February 22, 2022.
According to court documents, on the morning of February 26, 2021, Amante robbed a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Jacksonville. Amante entered the bank and approached a teller, passing over a bag and a note which demanded money and stated that if the teller gave him a dye pack, “it will not end well with you.” The teller pressed the panic button, which Amante noticed. Amante then brandished two loaded 9mm pistols in a shoulder holster and in his waistband. The teller provided him with approximately $1,046 and Amante escaped in a getaway vehicle.
The teller had placed a GPS tracking device in the bag and officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office immediately responded and followed the GPS device to the Amante’s residence. Amante was apprehended as he walked out of his front door still armed with one of the 9mm pistols and carrying some of the stolen money and a stolen license plate that he had used on his getaway vehicle. Law enforcement recovered the other 9mm pistol used in the robbery during a search of Amante’s house, along with an AR-15-style rifle, 869 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 993 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, body armor, an unregistered firearms silencer, surveillance equipment, handcuffs, and zip ties. Officers also searched the getaway vehicle and recovered an unregistered AR-15-style short-barreled rifle loaded with armor-piercing ammunition, along with multiple loaded spare magazines for the rifle and the 9mm pistols.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David B. Mesrobian.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.