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Concord, N.H.—Emily Gray Rice, United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, announced that Matthew Bergeron, 30, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Rashawn Dunn, 30, of Manchester, New Hampshire, and Jessica Fithian, 33, of Manchester, New Hampshire, have all pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy charges arising out of the straw purchase of firearms in 2016.
According to the indictment, statements made in court, and other public records in the case, Bergeron and Dunn conspired to have Dunn purchase two firearms on Bergeron’s behalf in June and July 2016 from Riley’s Sport Shop, a federally licensed firearms dealer in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Bergeron conspired with Fithian to have her purchase one firearm on his behalf in July 2016, also at Riley’s. In connection with each firearm purchase, Dunn and Fithian were required to complete an ATF Form 4473 where they falsely stated that they were purchasing the firearms for themselves, rather than for Bergeron. Bergeron also had each co-defendant purchase ammunition and extended clip magazines on his behalf. Shortly after Dunn and Fithian left the store, they provided the firearms, magazines and ammunition to Bergeron. At the time, Bergeron was a previously convicted felon and a resident of Massachusetts, and could not legally purchase firearms for himself in New Hampshire. A federal indictment was returned by a grand jury sitting in Concord on November 2, 2016.
Dunn and Fithian each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and Bergeron pleaded guilty to two counts of the same. Separate sentencing hearings for each defendant have been scheduled for June 2017, in front of Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph LaPlante. At that time, each defendant will face a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years for each count of conviction. Their actual sentences will be determined by the court following completion of a presentence investigation report.
This matter is being jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the Manchester Police Department. The case is part of ATF’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, which is a federally-funded program intended to reduce gun violence through law enforcement training, public education, and aggressive law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute gun-related crimes. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Rombeau.