DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Robert L. Capers
, United States Attorney
Contact: Nellin McIntosh

New York State Court Officer Arrested for Robbery Conspiracy

Complaint Charges Defendant Was a Member of a Home Invasion Robbery Crew

Earlier today, Nicholas Giovatto, a New York State Court Officer, who had been assigned to the Bronx County Supreme Court, was arrested and charged with robbery conspiracy and related firearm charges by members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Police Impersonation Investigation Unit.1 The defendant’s initial appearance is scheduled this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke, at the United States Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York.

The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Delano A. Reid, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division, ATF, and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, NYPD.

“Law enforcement officers who violate their oath to protect the public, whether inside or outside the courthouse, will be held accountable for their actions. No one is above the law,” stated United States Attorney Capers.

“As alleged, the defendant - on more than one occasion - misused his position of trust when he posed as a law enforcement officer to commit home invasion robberies. The defendant apparently believes that a life of crime would be more beneficial than one of protecting and serving. I suspect that now that he has been indoctrinated into the federal judicial system, he will quickly realize he made the wrong choice,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Reid.

“This arrest demonstrates that there is no tolerance for corruption at any level. I commend the work of the members of the NYPD Police Impersonation Investigation Unit, the agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the prosecutors of the United States Eastern District who are involved in this investigation,” said Police Commissioner Bratton.

According to the complaint, between December 2011 and March 2012, Giovatto was a member of a robbery crew that conspired to commit armed home invasion robberies of narcotics dealers on Long Island and in Queens.  On December 20, 2011, Giovatto and another member of his crew entered a residence in Queens, New York, by falsely identifying themselves as police officers and claiming they had a search warrant for the premises. Upon entering the residence, Giovatto brandished a firearm, while his co-conspirator handcuffed the victim. They then ransacked the premises and stole more than $30,000 and several pieces of jewelry. Giovatto and his co-conspirator targeted this location for robbery because one of the residents was believed to be a narcotics trafficker.

Similarly, the complaint charges that, on March 10, 2012, Giovatto and another member of the robbery crew attempted to enter a residence in Queens, New York, in order to rob the occupants who they believed were involved in marijuana trafficking. Giovatto and his co- conspirator falsely identified themselves as police officers but were denied access to the residence by the intended robbery victims.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Lara Treinis Gatz and Grace M. Cucchissi are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant: NICHOLAS GIOVATTO
Age: 37
New York, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-MJ-51 (AKT)

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Field Division: New York Field Division