Leland Man Indicted for Lying to Federal Firearms Licensee During Attempted Purchase of a Firearm
RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that a grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of North Carolina returned an indictment charging HOWARD JOSEPH BURCHFIELD, 36 of Leland, NC with two counts of providing a false statement in connection with purchasing a firearm and one count of possession of ammunition as a prohibited person. Each count carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
The indictment alleges that on July 22, 2016 and April 1, 2017, in Shallotte, North Carolina, BURCHFIELD tried to purchase firearms from two federal firearm licensees. BURCHFIELD was required to fill out an ATF 4473 Form, as part of the federal background check, in order to purchase the firearms. On that form, BURCHFIELD checked the box “no” when asked if he had ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or been committed to a mental institution. At the time, BURCHFIELD knew that he had been adjudicated as a mental defective in Colorado in 2013, and had been committed to a mental institution in Florida in 2010. BURCHFIELD was unsuccessful in purchasing the firearms on both occasions. BURCHFIELD again provided this same false written statement in connection with attempting to purchase a firearm on March 2, 2018 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. BURCHFIELD was again unable to purchase the firearm.
The FBI in the Eastern District of North Carolina arrested BURCHFIELD for the above offenses on March 20, 2018, and he has remained in custody pending the outcome of this case.
This case is consistent with Attorney General Jeff Sessions directive to federal prosecutors, issued on March 12, 2018, to swiftly and aggressively prosecute individuals who lie in an attempt to thwart the federal background check system when purchasing firearms.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wilmington Resident Agency Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol, Onslow County Sheriff's Office and Jacksonville Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Peggah B. Wilson is handling the prosecution of this case for the government.