If you're planning the watch the movie Honest Thief (2020): Spoilers ahead!

The protagonist of the movie above is a thief who "robbed 12 banks in 7 [US] states" for "a little over 9 million dollars cash" during a period of "about 8 years" and wants to make a deal with the FBI:

He is gonna "hand over all the money... in exchange for a reduced sentence, no more than 2 years in minimum security, within an hour of Boston, with full visitation rights."

Could such a deal be legally possible?

Further notes: The thief "never spent one dime" of the stolen money, and killed "no one."

  • 2
    Sure it's legally possible, is there a particular part you doubt? Prosecutors have great discretion in sentencing recommendations, and although there may be mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes, prosecutors also have discretion as to which crimes to charge or not. Whether it's likely that prosecutors would agree to such a deal is another question, and is maybe too opinion-based for this site. Apr 3, 2021 at 22:45
  • By the way, I believe the federal statute of limitations for robbery is 5 years, so some of his crimes might not be prosecutable anyway. Apr 3, 2021 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


Prosecutors have discretion

The plea bargain that a prosecutor makes with an alleged criminal is up to the prosecutor subject to the limitations in Brady v United States 397 U.S. 742 (1970). Plea bargains are subject to the court’s approval but there’s nothing here that would obviously derail this deal.

However, the FBI is not the only player here. The DA’s in each of the “7 [US] states” are going to want to prosecute as well.

  • I can't see how plea bargaining is relevant here. The thief offers to return (as opposed to conceal) the stolen cash in exchange for a reduced sentence, not any pleas. He does not deny committing the crime in the first place.
    – Greendrake
    Apr 4, 2021 at 2:28
  • @Greendrake my reading is that he will also plead guilty. Otherwise he’ll say “prove it” and plead not guilty. He might win, even if he doesn’t, after 8 or so years he’s out with $9 million.
    – Dale M
    Apr 4, 2021 at 6:25
  • Plea bargains can and do include conditions beyond pleading to a particular crime. They can and in,some cases do include returning stolen property, or compensating victims. Apr 4, 2021 at 15:52
  • I would only say that this could fall apart in that a 2 year prison sentance may not meet any mandatory minimums (I don't know) and the feds do not seem to get anything out of the deal that benefits them.
    – hszmv
    Apr 5, 2021 at 12:47
  • @hszmv the get an arrest, a guilty plea and avoid a trial.
    – Dale M
    Apr 5, 2021 at 12:55

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