A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Tuesday to four consecutive life sentences in federal prison, plus an additional 155 years, for his convictions involving a violent bank extortion and robbery spree in four states and several cities, including Oak Ridge and Knoxville, authorities said.
Michael Anthony Benanti, 45, of Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Thomas A. Varlan in Knoxville on Tuesday.
Benanti had been convicted by a jury after a trial in U.S. District Court in February 2017. The jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed bank extortion, two counts of attempted armed bank extortion, one count of armed bank extortion, three counts of carjacking, three counts of kidnapping, three counts of being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and 10 counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
“Often, severe federal penalties, such as mandatory minimum sentences, are the most effective tool to protect the American public from a violent criminal like Benanti,” U.S. Attorney Nancy Harr said in a press release. “The consecutive sentences received by Benanti for firearms violations ensure he will never again be able to victimize families in East Tennessee or elsewhere. The U.S. Attorney’s office is, and remains committed to, prosecuting these crimes and seeking the highest penalties possible to help keep the American people safe.” [Read more…]