Time with Mr. Reed “Reed Domingo on Family And His American Dream”

by | Jul 6, 2023

For every interview I have done, each person stood out for their individuality and stories, all coming from different walks of life, and one person’s narrative can be interpreted in plenty of ways, openly discussed with varying opinions. This is the story of Reed Domingo, whose tale has been the subject of global headlines – for crimes he has admittedly committed and served time for. Notoriety has been one of the overarching themes of Reed’s life, but the truth is it all came down to the love he has for his family.

Reed Domingo’s story began 25 years ago, at a time when nothing seemed impossible. He was  happily married to the love of his life, Patrice, and living the American Dream. Unfortunately, this castle on the hill came crumbling down as Reed found himself in debt from nine rounds of IVF treatments, which resulted in a baffling amount of $250,000. Ultimately, Reed did the unthinkable and started robbing 12 banks to pay off debts while trying to raise their newborn daughter, Angelique. (Eventually, Reed was caught and pleaded to five counts of robbery counts of bank robbery)

During our interview, Reed’s love for his daughter, whom he affectionately calls Chummy, permeated the conversation. When it came down to admitting his flaws, Reed spoke honestly, “I would say to your readers that I did something wrong, I broke the law. As a consequence, I deserve to lose my freedom. There’s no if and buts about it. And all of this was a result of my actions.There is nobody else to blame but myself, so you’ll never hear me blame my parents.”

Prior to the bank robberies, Reed led a charmed life as the son of a Biotech engineer in England, born to multicultural parents who took him around the world. Yet, years later – this unforeseeable event happened, and Reed ensured that he would keep moving forward for his family, no matter what.

In this age, it seems like it would be the stuff made out of movies such as “The Italian Job” or, most recently, Netflix’s “Money Heist” to rob a bank. Truthfully, according to Reed, although he didn’t go into details about the process — it was more straightforward than the movies, nor did it take a whole crew to do so. This was, of course, during the late 90s, and he could still return to work afterwards. 

“Firstly, I didn’t get a rise out of this. There was no thrill or adrenaline rush from robbing a bank. At the time, I was mentally down, not in a good place at all,” says Reed. For him, it was about paying off his bills each month that came to pass. However, in the back of his mind, there was always that possibility that whenever he went out of the bank, the police would be there waiting to crack down on all of it. But luckily for him, that moment never came to pass, although he was mentally prepared to go to jail.

Once, that moment came when he was told to give himself up. He spent plenty of time negotiating with his lawyer and the United States government for a more lenient sentence. “At the time, we were looking at 100 years in prison, and that was for each bank.” In the United States, the federal government’s laws on bank robberies, formally categorized as “18 U.S. Code § 2113 – Bank robbery and incidental crimes,” punishment decreed that under federal law, bank robbery is a severe offense that could be sentenced for up to 20 years in federal prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both. If there was violence involved to accomplish the bank robbery, severe penalties would be in place. ( Eisner Gorin LLP )

The road ahead looked bleak as Reed prepared for a lengthy sentence. Surprisingly, his  sentence was heavily reduced. Instead of 100 years, he would be imprisoned for four years at Terminal Island Prison, a notorious federal penitentiary which once housed Charles Manson and Al Capone. While he could handle that mentally, he couldn’t take his imminent deportation back to the United Kingdom due to his criminal record, taking him far away from his daughter, Chummy. 

During his time in prison and imminent deportation, Reed and Patrice never told their daughter about what happened to him. “I didn’t want to ruin her childhood, and if you were to ask me, would I ever go back and do things differently on that side, my answer to you would be no, I wouldn’t do it any other way by choosing to shelter my daughter from the mistakes I made,” says Reed.

Back in the UK, Reed started to rebuild himself from scratch, working in gyms as a personal trainer. For a time, his wife and daughter moved across the pond to be with him thinking that after the 15-year statutory limit, he could return to the United States. Unfortunately, this came to an impasse, and he was never allowed to return despite his repeated efforts in trying. 

Surprisingly, Reed’s hopes haven’t been wholly dashed regarding the American dream, despite what happened to him. “I have lived the American dream and seen the other side of American justice. Having experienced both, I can honestly say that the American dream is still alive and well.” He continues, “There are hundreds of people trying to make their way to the United States. They know that America is one of the few places in the world where you can show up with just the shirt on your back and that if you work hard, things will happen for you.” 

Then came the release of “Time with Mr Reed”, a podcast where Reed chose to tell the world his story, and while his story may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For Reed, the podcast is his way of trying to have his case heard by a sympathetic ear, hopefully from the United States government. Although it might be far-fetched, there was no harm in trying.

While everyone has opinions about the Reed Domingo’s out there, what needs to be remembered is at the heart of each story – two sides need to be heard, not just one.

For more on Reed:  https://www.timewithmrreed.com
Photographer: Kirk Newmann

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