Jesse Costa Perez Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on May 20, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JESSE COSTA PEREZ, a 44-year-old resident of Hardin, pled guilty to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for August 21, 2009. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
PEREZ is a convicted Montana felon, presently on probation and supervised by the Montana Department of Corrections. This conviction prohibits him from possession of firearms.
On January 20, 2009, PEREZ pawned a Ruger Single Six .22 caliber revolver at First National Pawn in Billings.
On January 29, 2009, PEREZ returned to the pawn shop and attempted to reacquire the firearm. At this time, he filled out the required Firearms Transaction Record Form. PEREZ falsely answered "NO" where he was asked if he had ever been convicted of a felony. The NICS background check first delayed then denied the transaction. The probation office became aware of the incident and a referral was made to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Personnel at the store identified PEREZ as the person who made the false statement on the form.
PEREZ faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Montana Probation and Parole Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.