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Two Queens men sentenced for roles in 2020 armed robbery at Aqueduct Racetrack: Feds

Jul. 13, 2023 By Bill Parry

Two Jamaica men were sentenced Thursday in Brooklyn federal court for their roles in an armed heist at the Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park in 2020.

Lamel Miller, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly to nine years in prison following his conviction at trial for the March 7, 2020, armed robbery of more than $280,000 in cash. Miller’s co-defendant, Lafayette Morrison, 41, who was a security guard at Aqueduct acting as an “inside man” during the heist, was sentenced to 90 month imprisonment last month.

“These sentences are the finale to the armed robbery that played out like a Hollywood movie heist,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “Miller and Morrison made the wrong bet in robbing Aqueduct Racetrack and have been justly punished for their violent crimes.”

Lamel Miller and Lafayette Morrison.NYPD

As proven at trial, at approximately 10 p.m. following the Gotham Day stakes races at Aqueduct, Miller and a co-conspirator — the third charged defendant — held up at gunpoint several racetrack employees, including Morrison — who was employed as a racetrack security guard — as they were transporting more than $284,000 in cash earnings to a vault. Miller and the co-conspirator emerged from their hiding spot in a stairwell and confronted the employees at gunpoint, taking the cash and employees’ cell phones and forcing the employees into a closet. Miller and the co-conspirator then went to a hotel where they divided up the robbery proceeds; they each took $100,000 and gave the remaining $84,000 to Morrison, who had falsely posed as a victim during the robbery.

In reality, Morrison had served as the robbery crew’s “inside man,” providing information in advance about where and when the money would be transported to the Aqueduct Racetrack’s vault. When interviewed by federal law enforcement officers after the robbery, Morrison repeatedly lied to officers, having claimed to be a victim of the crime and misidentified a photograph of his childhood friend, Miller.

On Oct. 21, 2022, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Morrison of Hobbs Act robbery and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery in connection with the armed robbery. Morrison and Miller were also convicted of brandishing a firearm in connection with the robbery. Additionally, Morrison was convicted of obstruction of justice. Miller previously pleaded guilty to the robbery in September 2022.

“The criminals involved in this ill-conceived robbery plot have earned meaningful prison sentences for their roles in its planning and execution,” NYPD Acting Commissioner Edward Caban said. “I commend and thank the NYPD detectives and ATF agents on our Joint Robbery Task Force, and the prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, for their critical work on this important case.”

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