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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of New York
Breon Peace, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 13, 2023

Two Queens Men Sentenced for Armed Robbery at Aqueduct Racetrack

Armed Robber and “Inside Man” Sentenced to 108 and 90 Months Respectively in $280,000 Heist

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Lamel Miller was sentenced by United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly to 108 months’ imprisonment following his conviction at trial in connection with the March 7, 2020 armed robbery of over $280,000 in cash from the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Last month, on June 14, 2023, Miller’s co-defendant, Lafayette Morrison, who was a racetrack security guard acting as an “inside man” during the robbery, was sentenced to 90 months’ imprisonment.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, John B. DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York Field Division (ATF), and Edward A. Caban, Acting Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentences.

“These sentences are the finale to the armed robbery that played out like a Hollywood movie heist,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Miller and Morrison made the wrong bet in robbing the Aqueduct Racetrack and have been justly punished for their violent crimes.”

“This sentencing clearly demonstrates that serious violent crime such as the armed robbery committed by the defendants; will be met with a corresponding response from law enforcement.” said ATF Special Agent-in-Charge John DeVito. “The men and women of ATF SPARTA investigate and arrest those who believe they can prey on New Yorkers without fear of consequences. They can’t! Thanks to the NYPD’s Queens Robbery Squad and U.S. Attorney's office for the outcome of this case.”

“The criminals involved in this ill-conceived robbery plot have earned meaningful prison sentences for their roles in its planning and execution,” stated NYPD Acting Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “I commend and thank the NYPD detectives and ATF agents on our Joint Robbery Task Force, and the prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, for their critical work on this important case.”

On October 21, 2022, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Morrison of Hobbs Act robbery and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery in connection with the March 7, 2020 armed robbery of more than $280,000 in cash from Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens. Morrison and Miller were also convicted of brandishing a firearm in connection with the robbery. Additionally, Morrison was convicted of obstruction of justice. Miller previously pled guilty to the robbery in September 2022.

As proven at trial, at approximately 10 p.m. following the Gotham Day stakes races at Aqueduct, Miller and a co-conspirator, the third charged defendant, held up at gunpoint several racetrack employees – including Morrison, who was employed as a racetrack security guard – as they were transporting more than $284,000 in cash earnings to a vault. Miller and the co-conspirator emerged from their hiding spot in a stairwell and confronted the employees at gunpoint, taking the cash and employees’ cell phones, and forcing the employees into a closet. Miller and the co-conspirator then went to a hotel where they divided up the robbery proceeds; they each took $100,000 and gave the remaining $84,000 to Morrison, who had falsely posed as a victim during the robbery. In reality, Morrison had served as the robbery crew’s “inside man,” providing information in advance about where and when the money would be transported to the Aqueduct Racetrack’s vault. When interviewed by federal law enforcement officers after the robbery, Morrison repeatedly lied to officers, including by claiming to be a victim of the crime and misidentifying a photograph of his childhood friend, Miller.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew R. Galeotti and Rachel A. Shanies, with the assistance of paralegal specialist Anna November. Assistant United States Attorney Claire Kedeshian of the Office’s Asset Recovery Section is in charge of asset forfeiture.

The Defendants:

Age: 41
Queens, New York

Age: 41
Queens, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-CR-216 (AMD)

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