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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Harrisburg Couple Charged In Straw Purchase Of Firearm

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a federal Grand Jury in Scranton has indicted Michael Miller and Janis Tolan with conspiracy to make a false statement in connection with the purchase of a firearm at a gun show in December 2015.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the defendants purchased an AK 47 semi-automatic rifle from a licensed dealer at an event at the Farmshow Complex in Harrisburg.  Miller allegedly chose the weapon and Tolan submitted the identification for the vendor and filled out the government form representing her as the purchaser, allegedly acting as a straw purchaser for Miller in violation of federal law.

This matter was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Prosecution is assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christy Fawcett and Chelsea Schinnour.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law is ten years, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated April 27, 2016