A Buffalo woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of bank robbery in connection with an eight-month run of heists, mostly in and around Buffalo.
Sheila L. Cassata, 48, a mother and grandmother, admitted in U.S. District Court that she drove Michael Mitchell to and from three banks late last year and early this year, knowing Mitchell intended to pass notes to tellers and demand cash.
Federal prosecutors believe Mitchell was at the center of a ring of about a dozen robbers who pulled off 26 holdups. Prosecutors say he and Cassata made off with $543 from the Key Bank at 201 Amherst St. on Dec. 27; $898 from an M&T branch at 130 Grant St. on Jan. 3 of this year; and $4,080 from the First Niagara Bank branch at 1248 Abbott Road in Lackawanna on Jan. 9.
Cassata was in a vehicle with Mitchell when federal agents arrested him Jan. 15 at Lovejoy and Ideal streets. Mitchell has pleaded not guilty.
Bank robbery can bring a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. But by admitting guilt as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, and if she cooperates with them, Cassata could receive a sentence of 31 to 46 months in prison when she appears Oct. 1 before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.