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Former Buffalo man pleads guilty to four bank robberies, witness tampering

A former Buffalo man has pleaded guilty to four local HSBC Bank robberies in 2011, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. reported Tuesday.

Clifford B. Smith, 34, held up the HSBC branches at 3107 Bailey Ave. on Sept. 29, 2011, the 1017 Broadway location on Oct. 21, 2011 and the branch at 973 Main St. on both Oct. 25 and Nov. 8, 2011, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti.

Smith made off with roughly a combined $42,000 in all the holdups, prosecutors said.

Smith also pleaded guilty to witness tampering for contacting a woman from prison and encouraging her to say she was with Smith when the robberies occurred. The defendant later sent the woman a letter providing her with some of the dates he wanted her to use for his failed alibi, Hochul said.

Smith faces up to 25 years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced May 6 by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William M. Skretny.