Baltimore County Felon Exiled To 20 Years In Prison For Illegally Obtaining Firearms Through Straw Purchases
According to Court Documents, One of the Illegally Obtained Guns Was Used to Commit a Murder
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Jeffrey Gregory, age 48, of Sparks, Maryland, today to 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, in connection with a scheme in which another individual engaged in “straw purchases” to obtain guns for Gregory, a previously convicted felon who was prohibited from possessing firearms.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to the facts presented at Gregory’s plea hearing, on three occasions from January 2008 through March 2009, Gregory went with his co-conspirator to have the co-conspirator engage in a “straw purchase” of a firearm on Gregory’s behalf. Gregory was unable to purchase firearms himself because he had a prohibiting criminal conviction. During each visit to the gun stores, the co-conspirator filled out federal and state paperwork, which federal firearms licensed dealers (FFLs) are required by federal law to prepare and maintain as part of each firearm sale.
One of those forms, ATF Form 4473, notifies the buyer that purchasing a firearm on behalf of another person – a straw purchase - is unlawful. In each form, the buyer is asked “[a]re you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm ....?” The question is followed by a warning in bold print that states: “Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person.” Finally, the buyer’s certification explicitly states that falsely answering “yes” to the actual buyer question is a crime punishable as a felony.
On each occasion that Gregory and the co-conspirator went to gun stores, Gregory provided the co-conspirator with money, told the co-conspirator what firearm she should obtain, and instructed the co-conspirator to represent herself as the true buyer, which the co-conspirator did. For example, Gregory admitted that on July 8, 2008, the co-conspirator made false statements on a Form 4473 in order to purchase a Ruger .45 caliber firearm for Jeffrey Gregory from an FFL in Baltimore County, Maryland. On July 17, 2008, the co-conspirator picked up the firearm from the dealer and gave the gun to Gregory.
On January 4, 2008, the co-conspirator made false statements on a Form 4473 in order to acquire a Springfield .40 caliber firearm, for Jeffrey Gregory. On January 11, 2008, the co-conspirator picked up the firearm and gave it to Gregory. According to court documents, that .40 caliber gun was used to commit a murder in Baltimore County.
Gregory was previously sentenced to 93 months in federal prison for unrelated charges: possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. In that case, Gregory brandished a handgun during a fight at a York Road restaurant. The resulting investigation recovered the gun used during the fight, as well as another gun and drugs from Gregory’s home.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Hanlon and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Piper F. McKeithen, a cross-designated Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney, who prosecuted the case.