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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of North Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 22, 2020

U.S. Attorney Wrigley Announces a West Fargo, ND, Felon Sentenced to Federal Prison for False Statement during the Purchase of a Firearm

Fargo – United States Attorney Drew Wrigley announced that Robert Eugene Johnson, age 72 of West Fargo, ND, has been sentenced to serve five months in Federal Prison for making a false statement about his criminal record during the Purchase of a Firearm. Johnson pled guilty to the offense on June 22, 2020, and was sentenced the same day by United States District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte. Chief Judge Welte also sentenced Johnson to one year of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $100 special assessment for the Crime Victims’ Fund.

"This is what we call a ‘lie and try’ case," said U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, "the defendant was a convicted felon who could not lawfully possess a firearm. He lied, he tried, and the system worked to block a convicted felon from illegally getting his hands on a firearm."

Johnson had been sentenced on March 16, 2020 to serve 4 months for a federal tax felony conviction. Just eight days later, on March 23, Johnson attempted to purchase a semi-automatic firearm by falsely claiming he had not been previously convicted of a felony. During Johnson’s attempted purchase, store personnel conducted a query of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which revealed Johnson

was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm due to his recent tax evasion conviction. The sale was disallowed, and Johnson was later arrested.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jacob T. Rodenbiker.

Component(s): 
Contact: 
Terry W. Van Horn 701-297-7458 terry.vanhorn@usdoj.gov
Updated June 22, 2020