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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 6, 2020

Retired Administrative Law Judge Admits Buying an AR-15 Style Rifle for a Convicted Felon

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Grove City, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal firearms law, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Karl Alexander, age 78, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer before United States District Judge Robert J. Colville.

According to information provided to the court, on Sept. 29, 2019, Alexander, an attorney and administrative law judge, knowingly made a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer when purchasing a Ruger AR556MPR AR-15 style rifle. Alexander admitted that he expressly lied on the ATF Form 4473 and answered "Yes" to the question: "Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm listed on this form?" In fact, Alexander was purchasing the firearm for a convicted felon, Dennis Alan Riggs. Alexander admitted that Riggs was with him for the purchase and that Riggs picked out the firearm and paid Alexander for the firearm. Alexander also admitted he agreed to purchase the weapon because of their personal relationship.

Riggs was charged by complaint on January 22, 2020 for being a felon in possession of a firearm. His case is pending.

Judge Colville scheduled sentencing for July 15, 2020. The law provides for a total sentence of up to 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.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case. This case was brought as part of Project Guardian. Reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearms laws have always been among the Department of Justice’s highest priorities. Project Guardian serves as a complementary effort to the success of Project Safe Neighborhoods.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Updated March 6, 2020