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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Las Vegas Felon Sentenced To Prison For Unlawful Possession Of A Stolen Firearm And COVID Relief Fraud

LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas resident was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon to four years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possessing a stolen firearm and submitting fraudulent loan applications to the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Darnele Javoris Nelson, also known as “Ricky Ellis” and “Gamarmaurice Newson,” (40), pleaded guilty in March 2022 to one count of felon in possession of a firearm and one count of wire fraud.

According to court documents, on June 23, 2019, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers stopped a car in which Nelson was a passenger. The officer saw an open can of beer and later discovered a stolen loaded Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine.

Nelson has three prior felony convictions including robbery and vehicular manslaughter in California; felony assault with a deadly weapon in California; and possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices in New York. He is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

Between July 2020 and May 2021, Nelson — who was on both supervised release and pretrial release — submitted at least three Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program loan applications to the Small Business Administration in attempts to obtain approximately $30,000, and at least one Paycheck Protection Plan loan application to obtain $20,833. In all four applications, Nelson falsely stated that he was the proprietor of several companies which did not exist, reported false revenue amounts, a fake number of employees, and that he was not facing felony charges or serving parole or probation for a felony conviction.

In addition to the sentence imposed yesterday, Nelson is currently serving a sentence for violating the conditions of supervised release from his New York felony case as a result of being arrested in Las Vegas in 2019. U.S. District Court Judge Kent J. Dawson sentenced Nelson to one year and nine months in July 2022.

U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada, Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans for the FBI, and Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the ATF, the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General (SBA OIG); IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (FRB-OIG), and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Frayn and Mina Chang prosecuted the case.

If you have information about illegal firearms activity, you are urged to submit a tip to ATF by calling the hotline at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867) or through the ReportIt mobile app.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Financial Fraud
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated August 4, 2022