GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Three men who authorities say orchestrated an inside job to steal more than $1.2 million from a cash courier van in the Lansing area earlier this year have pleaded guilty to federal charges.
The feds still haven’t recovered some $700,000 of the stolen cash.
Paschal Uchendu, 27, of Mason, pleaded guilty Oct. 12 to bank larceny. Stephen Uchendu, 21, of Mason, and Todd Harris Jr., 20, of Grand Rapids, both pleaded to the interstate transportation of stolen money. Stephen Uchendu pleaded Sept. 28 and Harris on Wednesday.
The heist happened Feb. 15 in Meridian Township, east of East Lansing. Authorities say Paschal Uchendu was driving the cash courier van and was the ringleader. His brother Stephen Uchendu and Harris, Stephen Uchendu’s friend from elementary school, faked the armed robbery, with Stephen Uchendu carrying an unloaded AR-15. Federal investigators say Paschal Uchendu unlocked the van’s safe for his co-conspirators and together, the three men got away with $1,244,483.
Of that, Stephen Uchendu and Harris were given $25,000 each.
When Harris realized investigators were on to him, they say, he and Stephen Uchendu left Michigan and took part of their money to Georgia.
Stephen Uchendu is scheduled to be sentenced March 7 and Paschal Uchendu the next day. Harris’ sentencing date has not yet been set. All three could spend up to 10 years in prison and be ordered to pay more than a quarter of a million dollars in fines.