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Buffalo bank robber gets 66 months in federal prison

Michael Mitchell, the man accused of orchestrating at least 25 bank robberies, was absent from the courtroom Wednesday but his name came up frequently as part of the sentencing of Jason Berg of Buffalo.

Berg, 23, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to 66 months in prison but only after his lawyer argued for leniency and pointed to Mitchell’s alleged leadership role in the robberies.

Reading from the government’s criminal complaint against Mitchell, John F. Humann, of the federal public defender’s office, said he played a big role in the three robberies done by Berg, as well as those committed by others.

The FBI believes Berg, who made no mention of Mitchell Wednesday, was part of a loosely formed band of bank robbers that over the course of last year and this year held up more than 25 local banks at Mitchell’s direction.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten didn’t mention Mitchell’s role in the robberies and instead focused on Berg’s extensive criminal record prior to last year’s stick-ups.