A Mount Sinai man convicted of robbing two banks in 2011 on Long Island while he was in a halfway house, finishing a sentence for committing a string of bank robberies in 2007, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday.
Steven Bertuglia, 41, asked U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco to impose a lesser sentence because he was a drug addict and suffered from bipolar disorder.
"I know I haven't been a perfect citizen," Bertuglia said in federal court in Central Islip, adding he had now learned his lesson and believed treatment would control his criminal impulses.
But Bianco noted that Bertuglia had made similar remarks when he was sentenced in 2008 in federal court in Brooklyn to 6 years in prison for committing 14 bank robberies in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Bianco said one of the 2011 robberies involved Atlantic Bank in Hicksville, which he had been convicted of robbing in 2007.
In the 2011 robbery, Bertuglia stole $1,040 from the Hicksville bank; the other 2011 robbery involved a TD Bank in Farmingville, from which Bertuglia got $1,630.
Bertuglia committed the two more recent robberies of Long Island banks not long after he was released from prison and moved to a halfway house, court records show. He was ostensibly going to an employment agency, seeking a job, when he robbed the Hicksville bank again, and the Farmingville bank.
Bertuglia's initial bank robbery spree ended shortly after he held up a Bank of America branch in Albertson in June of 2007. A witness gave investigators a partial license plate and a description of the getaway vehicle. Bertuglia was arrested sitting in his car outside his family's Mount Sinai home, officials said.
In the more recent bank jobs, Bertuglia, who was being sought by authorities as a fugitive from the halfway house and as a likely suspect in the robberies, surrendered, officials said.
Both Bertuglia's attorney, federal public defender Randi Chavis, and Eastern District prosecutor Charles Rose declined to comment after the sentencing.