510-Count Second Superseding Indictment In Illegal Concealed Carry Weapons Permits Case
Jose M. Prado-Colón and Julio Medina-Mojica charged in the indictment
SAN JUAN, PR – Yesterday, May 1st, a Federal grand jury returned a 510-count second superseding indictment against attorney and notary public Antonio Peluzzo-Perotin, María Del Carmen Rivera-Negrón, Julio Colón-Santiago, the Lawman Gun Shop, José M. Prado-Colón and Julio C. Medina-Mojica for conspiracy to commit several offenses against the United States, unlawful production of documents, forgery of signatures and seals, and aggravated identity theft, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) are in charge of the investigation.
Prado-Colón, an auxiliary Police of Puerto Rico officer, auxiliary national guardsmen, and firearms instructor, and Medina-Mojica, owner of a shooting range in Humacao, PR, are facing twenty counts of unlawful production of documents or authentication features and aggravated identity theft. In coordination with defendants Julio Colón-Santiago and Carmen Rivera-Negron they falsified safety course certificates required under Puerto Rico law for concealed carry weapons permits. This was in turn used to illegally obtain concealed carry weapons permits.
According to the accusation, from in or about the year 2010, continuing through December 2013, Rivera Pagán & Asociados Inc. doing business as Lawman Gun Shop, conspired to commit offenses against the United States, that is: the forgery of the signature of a judge and counterfeit of the seal of the Superior Court of Puerto Rico and using these forgeries for the purpose of authenticating a document before the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) in an official proceeding to obtain a fraudulent Concealed Carry Weapons Permit. The defendants charged clients and collected money for services and fees that were not rendered. Defendants’ scheme knowingly caused the transfer, possession, and use without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person which contained the name and signature of the PRPD Superintendent and the name of permit cardholders.
The purpose and object of the conspiracy for the defendants was to have Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Concealed Carry Weapons Permits be falsely issued for pecuniary gain. It was part of the manner and means of the conspiracy for defendants to charge between $1,000- $1,150 for an application. Defendant Julio Colón-Santiago, aka “Junior” or María del Carmen Rivera-Negrón, aka “Maricarmen,” as owners of the gun shop, would give approximately $480 of the fees to defendant Peluzzo-Perotín, and the remaining amounts would be kept as proceeds of The Lawman Gun Shop.
Customers of the gun shop would be provided and invoice detailing services such as: photocopies, affidavits, stamps, Puerto Rico Department of Treasury filing fees, broker services, and a medical certificate, most of which were never rendered. By perpetrating this scheme the defendants entirely bypassed the judicial process, which had been legislatively established to properly adjudicate these Concealed Weapons permit applications.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys José Capó-Iriarte and Luke Cass. If convicted, the defendants could face up to 15 years in prison for unlawful production of identity documents, up to five years for falsifying court documents, up to five years for conspiracy and two additional years for each aggravated identity theft count.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.