SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Sierra Benninger, age 24, of Mountaintop, Pennsylvania, was indicted on November 13, 2018, by a federal grand jury for making false statements when purchasing a firearm.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment alleges that on January 30, 2018, Benninger provided false statements to purchase a Taurus 9mm handgun, which she was prohibited from possessing as a person who used and was addicted to a controlled substance.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Wilkes-Barre Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
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 for this offense is 10 years of imprisonment, 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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