WICHITA, KAN. – Two former officers of the Bel Aire Police Department were charged Tuesday in a federal indictment alleging that one of them devised a scheme to buy and sell firearms by falsely claiming the firearms were property of the Bel Aire Police Department and would be used for law enforcement purposes, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said. The second former officer is accused of trying to cover up the crime.
Nathan A. Mavia, 26, Wichita, Kan., is charged with one count of mail fraud. Mavia was a Bel Aire officer from Feb. 2012 to June 2014.
Robert S. McCaslin, 40, Wichita, Kan., is charged with one count of making false statements during a federal investigation. McCaslin was a Bel Aire Officer from August 2007 to February 2014.
The indictment alleges that in order to buy firearms at reduced prices for personal use or resale Mavia devised a scheme to falsely certify that the firearms would be owned by the Bel Aire Police Department and would be used for law enforcement purposes. The indictment alleges:
- Mavia ordered three rifles from Sig Sauer, falsely certifying that they were being acquired for performing official duties, not for personal use. The order form was accompanied by a letter on police department letterhead, a form signed by the former chief of police in Bel Aire, a copy of Mavias’ police identification card and a cashier’s check. On Nov. 15, 2013, one of the rifles (a Sig Sauer Model 716 Patrol, 762 caliber) was delivered to the Bel Aire Police Department. Two other rifles were delivered to another location.
- On Jan. 29, 2014, the interim police chief in Bel Aire found an FNH, model PS90, 5.7X28 caliber rifle in the department armory. Department policy did not allow officers to carry such a firearm on duty. He contacted FNH and learned that two other PS90 rifles were purchased at the same time. The order for the guns was accompanied by a letter stating that the guns were being ordered for officers’ official duties, not for personal use or resale. The City of Bel Aire sent information to the Kansas Department of Revenue stating that the rifles were tax exempt because they were being purchased for the exclusive of the Bel Aire Police Department.
- On Dec. 20, 2013, McCaslin was interviewed by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office. He stated that he understood the PS90 firearms were purchased for personal use. He said that Mavia and another officer each ordered one. He said he did not know who received the third PS90. During a second interview on Dec. 23, 2013, McCaslin stated the third PS90 possibly was sold to one of his friends. Investigators located a man who purchased a PS90 from a Bel Aire officer for $699. No ATF Form 4473 was completed for the purchase.
- The indictment alleges Mavia paid another officer for one of the PS90 rifles, knowing that the rifle was being purchased by the officer, and that Mavia did not complete the required ATF form. Mavia knew at the time of the purchase that police department policy did not allow officers to carry this type of firearm.
If convicted, Maria faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the mail fraud count; and McCaslin faces a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of making a false statement. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett is prosecuting.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.