Three Greenville men were recently sentenced to Federal Prison for armed robbery of a Greenville business. The case was investigated by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.
United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced that Mark Betancourt, 35, Joseph Sansosti, 26, and Juan Betancourt, 26, all of Greenville, were sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to Hobbs Act Robbery, Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery, and Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of Hobbs Act Robbery. Senior United States District Judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr., of Greenville, sentenced Mark Betancourt to 180 months in federal prison, Sansosti to 135 months in federal prison, and Juan Betancourt to 48 months in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal system. Each man was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $37,283.00.
Evidence presented to the court established that in May 2015, Mark Betancourt recruited his brother, Juan Betancourt, who was nearly ten years Mark’s junior, to assist him in robbing a business in Greenville. On May 23, 2015, Sansosti arranged to meet with Mark and Juan Betancourt. Mark Betancourt was the mastermind of the operation and drove the two younger men to the business. Sansosti and Juan Betancourt entered the store, where Sansosti placed one of the employees in a choke hold and held a gun to her head. Sansosti then dragged the employee over to the register, where the robbers took the money.
The case was investigated by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Project CeaseFire is South Carolina’s implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie Lea Schoen of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.