Brooklyn Man Admits Paying Others to Purchase 44 Firearms for His Use
PITTSBURGH - A resident of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Michael Bassier, 31, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Bassier used straw purchasers to buy firearms for him in the Western District of Pennsylvania. The straw purchasers would state, at the time of purchase, that they were the actual buyers of the firearms, when in fact Bassier was the actual buyer. He provided money to the straw purchasers and told them what to buy, and then took possession of the firearms afterward. Overall, Bassier aided and abetted the purchase of 44 firearms between December 2014 and August 2015.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for December 1, 2016. The law provides for a total sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court ordered that Bassier remain detained.
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.