Local Man Receives 50-Year Sentence for Violent Robbery and Witness Tampering

Somerset man faces a half-century behind bars for his role in a dramatic luxury car rental heist and subsequent witness intimidation.

In a notable legal conclusion, Melvin Banks, a 37-year-old Somerset resident, has been sentenced to a total of 50 years in New Jersey State Prison for his involvement in the armed robbery of a high-end luxury car rental service and for tampering with a witness. This sentencing was handed down by the Honorable Claudia Jones, JSC, on April 12, 2024, and mandates that Banks serve at least 25.5 years before he is eligible for parole.

The charges stem from a December 4, 2021, incident in which Banks, alongside co-defendant Daniel Lind, robbed the owner of a luxury car rental business at gunpoint. The confrontation occurred when Banks was purportedly returning a rented Mercedes S580. Instead, the exchange escalated violently at 9:31 p.m., with Lind discharging a firearm close to the victim while absconding with roughly $100,000 worth of jewelry and cell phones.

Further complicating Banks' legal troubles, evidence presented at trial showed that in the aftermath of the robbery, he engaged in witness tampering by threatening the victim and the victim’s family to dissuade them from pursuing charges.

Banks received 30 years for the conspiracy and robbery charges and an additional consecutive 20 years for witness tampering, along with a concurrent 5-year term for theft of a motor vehicle.

The successful prosecution of Banks was the result of collaborative efforts among the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, Riverdale Police, and several other agencies. Assistant Prosecutors Alexandra Pecora and Bridget Carr, along with their investigative team, were commended by Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll for their diligent work in securing this conviction.

This case highlights the intense judicial responses to violent crimes and efforts to protect victims from further harm, ensuring that justice is served in Morris County.

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