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Press Release

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Gun Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that Robert William Moats, 35, of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with a removed serial number. 

Moats previously admitted that on March 21, 2018, officers with the Charleston Police Department were looking for a female fugitive. Officers learned she was at a residence in Charleston. Officers were given consent by the homeowner to search for the fugitive. Officers found Moats inside the home sleeping on a chair with the fugitive. Officers awoke Moats and asked him to stand up.  As he stood up, officers observed a silver pistol in his right front pants pocket.  The officers secured the firearm, a Phoenix Arms, Raven, .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol.  The serial number had been removed from the pistol. Moats also admitted that he knew he was a convicted felon and that he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a 2003 felony conviction for second degree murder.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation.   Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. imposed the sentence.  Assistant United States Attorney Courtney Cremeans handled the prosecution.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see:      

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00008.



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Updated December 22, 2020

Project Guardian
Firearms Offenses