Australian gets 70 months for Wyoming bank heist

AP News
Posted: Jul 11, 2013 11:42 PM
Australian gets 70 months for Wyoming bank heist

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge in Wyoming handed down a nearly six-year prison sentence to an Australian man who says he robbed a Jackson bank so he could give money to the homeless.

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson sentenced Corey Donaldson, 40, to serve 70 months for bank robbery.

He also said Donaldson likely will be deported after his prison term.

Representing himself at trial this spring, Donaldson likened himself to Robin Hood, saying he was justified in taking over $140,000 from the U.S. Bank on Dec. 31 because he used much of the cash to save the lives of homeless people.

"You haven't lived until you have served others in such a way that they can never pay you back," Donaldson told the judge on Thursday.

He also apologized for terrifying the bank manager by falsely claiming the bank building was rigged with explosives.

Donaldson was arrested on Jan. 22 in Utah. Officers recovered more than $30,000 from Donaldson and in a room he had rented in an upscale hotel. At trial, officers testified they found $11,000 stuffed into envelopes and addressed to Donaldson's relatives.

Donaldson addressed the judge for more than an hour Thursday, spanning subjects ranging from a family yachting accident when he was a teenager to his plans to study literature after prison. He said he came to the U.S. after marrying a U.S. citizen and stayed, sometimes without a home, after a divorce.

Donaldson argued that banks racked up record profits while forcing people into homelessness through foreclosures. He said his father lost the family home in Australia in a bank default years ago and once considered suicide as a means of providing for 10 children from life insurance proceeds.

Prosecutor Todd Shugart emphasized that Donaldson was prepared to ship money to family overseas. "His claim of carrying out this act to benefit the poor is simply disingenuous," Shugart said.

In pronouncing sentence, Johnson said the bank robbery was "fueled by deceit." He cited a pre-sentencing report that stated that Donaldson had written to publishers trying to drum up interest in a book about the robbery.

Johnson said he expects Donaldson will be deported back to Australia after serving his sentence.

"I don't view what will happen to him as an exile in this matter, but a return home," the judge said.