8 Charged with Making False Statements in Connection with the Acquisition of Firearms
PITTSBURGH – Six men and two women have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The 22-count superseding indictment, returned on Dec. 1, named eight defendants:
- Michael Bassier, 31, formerly of Brooklyn, NY;
- Robyn Brown, 29, of Pittsburgh, Pa;
- Christopher Buchanon, 23, of Pittsburgh, Pa;
- Brandon Goode, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pa.;
- Nathan Lawrence, 33, formerly of Brooklyn, NY;
- Mychael Scott, 31, of Pittsburgh, Pa;
- Talen Simmons, of Pittsburgh, Pa; and
- Brandon Williams, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pa.
According to the superseding indictment, between Sept. 7, 2014, and Aug. 12, 2015, Bassier caused another to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of 44 firearms from licensed dealers in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Bassier is the only defendant charged in each of the 22 counts of the indictment. The remaining defendants are charged in counts alleging that they made or caused the making of false statements with respect to particular firearms.
“This investigation highlights ATF’s commitment to interdict firearms trafficking throughout our region. ATF will continue to pursue criminal networks who funnel illegally obtained firearms into the pipeline that fuels black markets throughout our region, including New York City,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi. “ATF and our law enforcement partners will continue to work shoulder to shoulder to identify and arrest sources of illegal guns to prevent gun violence and make our neighborhoods a safe and peaceful place to live.”
At 21 of the 22 counts, the law provides for a maximum sentence of not more than ten years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both. At the remaining count, which charges only Bassier and Lawrence, the law provides for a maximum sentence of not more than five years in prison. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
This case is being prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter and prosecute gun crime.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with detectives from the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, conducted the investigation leading to the superseding indictment in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Conor Lamb is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
A superseding indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.