News and Press Releases

Thomas Ralph Bristow Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 19, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, THOMAS RALPH BRISTOW, a 44-year-old resident of Boulder, appeared for sentencing. BRISTOW was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 46 months

Special Assessment: $200

Restitution: $2,100

Supervised Release: 3 years

BRISTOW was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm and manufacturing counterfeit currency.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

BRISTOW was precluded from legally possessing firearms as he had multiple felony convictions in Oregon.

On June 17, 2011, BRISTOW passed counterfeit currency at the Montana City Store (three $10 bills). On June 23, 2011, as part of an investigation into potential forgery and counterfeiting charges, deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office executed search warrants at BRISTOW's residence. They seized counterfeit money and a Kodak printer, two firearms (a 30.06 Remington rifle and a Savage 12-gauge shotgun), and approximately nine marijuana plants.

Before the search warrants were executed, BRISTOW was arrested following a traffic stop for operating on a suspended license. His girlfriend told the arresting officer that BRISTOW was solely responsible for manufacturing the counterfeit money. Later, during an interview at the Sheriff's Office, the girlfriend described how BRISTOW was taught to make the counterfeit money by another man who had stayed at the BRISTOW residence sometime in May or June 2011. She also relayed that BRISTOW paid for food at the A&W in East Helena with a counterfeit $100 bill a few days prior to June 23, 2011.

On June 28, 2011, BRISTOW was interviewed and admitted that his brother gave him the shotgun and that he and his girlfriend bought the rifle at a swap meet in Clancy for $375 just days before he was arrested.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BRISTOW will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BRISTOW does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.



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