Michael James Long Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on October 24, 2011, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, MICHAEL JAMES LONG, a 50-year-old resident of Sanders, pled guilty to attempting to interfere with the administration of the Social Security Act. Sentencing has been set for January 26, 2012. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On May 31, 2011, law enforcement was notified by concerned family members of LONG that he was on his way to the Billings Social Security Administration office with a firearm. LONG was angry that he had been denied Social Security Administration disability benefits.
The same day, law enforcement in Treasure County conducted a traffic stop of LONG outside Hysham. During the traffic stop, law enforcement observed a revolver in a light brown leather holster on the front passenger seat of the vehicle. Law enforcement confirmed that the revolver in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop was loaded. In response to law enforcement's questioning, LONG stated he was going to the Social Security Administration in Billings to "get some answers." LONG also stated that he was going to go to the Social Security Administration and "mow them down" because he was denied benefits and that "he was going to beat the hell out of them and get some answers." During law enforcement's contact with LONG, law enforcement reported that LONG was angry, hostile, agitated and was yelling, and screaming. Based on LONG's statements, conduct and the loaded firearm, law enforcement believed that LONG was going to go to the Social Security Administration in Billings to harm Social Security Administration employees. LONG was arrested by federal officials. While in custody LONG admitted that he told law enforcement during the traffic stop that he was planning to go the Social Security Administration with his gun and use it as leverage when he talked to the Social Security Administration employees. LONG believed that the gun would help him to get someone to listen to him.
LONG faces possible penalties of 1 year in prison, a $3,000 fine and 1 year supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Protective Service.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.