Attorney And Notary Public Antonio Peluzzo-Perotin Charged And Arrested For Causing More Than 100 Individuals To Obtain False Concealed Firearms’ Carrying Permits In The District Of Puerto Rico
Defendant faces 300 counts
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On December 18, 2013, a 300-count criminal complaint was authorized by US Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin charging attorney and notary public Antonio Peluzzo-Perotin with 100 violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 505 (forgery of the signature of a judge, register, or officer of any court of the united States, or of any Territory thereof); 100 violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028(a)(1) (causing the making of false identification documents); and 100 violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A (aggravated identity theft), announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Peluzzo-Perotin caused 100 individuals to obtain false permits to carry concealed firearms within the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) are in charge of the investigation.
According to the criminal complaint and affidavit, in September of 2013, information was brought to the attention of the FBI that Peluzzo-Perotin was creating fraudulent court documents in order to assist individuals to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. The defendant was introduced to individuals who wanted concealed weapon permits through his association with a gun shop in Bayamón, PR, or through a network of intermediaries or brokers who brought him his clients.
So far, law enforcement has identified over 150 fraudulent petitions originated by Peluzzo-Perotin which have been filed in the Weapons Registry Section of PRPD in the municipalities of Caguas, Humacao, Bayamón, Aibonito and San Juan.
A review of court orders/resolutions authorizing the individuals to receive a concealed weapons permit has shown the following:
- The court filing number listed on the purported court document does not correspond to actual cases docketed within the Puerto Rico courts’ system, or does not match the names and numbers contained therein.
- The documents do not contain the actual name/s of the authorizing judicial officers as customary in all other court documents.
- All documents compared contain identical language, grammar and appearance; location of the Puerto Rico Superior Court’s Seal; location of the clerk’s office certificate of authentication; location of Internal Revenue Stamps (sellos) that partially cover the identifying judicial district.
- All documents contain similar hand written information within the clerk’s office certificate of authentication regardless of having been presumably prepared by different clerks of court.
Law enforcement has reviewed purported court orders/resolutions prepared and provided by the defendant which were then submitted to PRPD in order to cause the production of false PRPD identification cards, under true names. By perpetrating this scheme Antonio Peluzzo-Perotin entirely bypassed the judicial process, which had been legislatively established to properly adjudicate these Concealed Weapons permit applications.
“Today’s announcement exemplifies law enforcement agencies’ intense focus on the rigorous pursuit of criminals who bypass the judicial process using their positions as attorneys to defraud the government and endanger our communities,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, US Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “Peluzzo-Perotin perpetuated and financially benefitted from an elaborate scheme which demonstrated a blatant disregard for Puerto Rico’s firearms laws, and the security of all our citizens. The investigation continues.”
“The defendant engaged in forgery and aggravated identity theft for personal financial gain and put the security of Puerto Ricans at risk by providing false firearms carrying permits to more than 100 persons,” said Carlos Cases, Special Agent in Charge of FBI in Puerto Rico. “The FBI is committed to investigating corrupt lawyers who commit fraudulent practices.”
James Tuller-Cintrón, Superintendent of the PRPD stated: “The police officers who serve the Puerto Rico Police Department are committed to enforcing the law and ensuring the welfare of all Puerto Ricans. Those persons, who like Peluzzo-Perotin, wish to use their positions to infiltrate and manipulate the branches of government in favor of their own interests to harm the quality of life in Puerto Rico, should know that they will be arrested and shall face the full burden of the law. We will now investigate whether any crimes have been committed by those who Peluzzo-Perotin assisted. What we can point out is that we have taken him off the streets of Puerto Rico.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys José Capó-Iriarte and Luke Cass. If convicted, the defendant could face up to 15 years in prison and a mandatory sentence of two consecutive years for the aggravated identity theft charges.