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Justice News

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Washington County Man Pleads Guilty To Firearms Offenses

PITTSBURGH - A Washington County man pled guilty on Monday to violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Michael Howard, 29, of Venetia, Pa., was convicted of possessing firearms while he was using and/or addicted to a controlled substance. He was also convicted of providing false information on multiple occasions to a federal firearms licensee about his use of, or addiction to, a controlled substance. That is, during the process of making firearms purchases, Mr. Howard falsely represented that he was not a user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance. As Mr. Howard later admitted during an investigation into his many firearms purchases, he had been using heroin for years when he purchased the firearms.

Sentencing is scheduled to occur on Sept. 26, 2014, at 3 p.m., in the courtroom of United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $750,000, or both. 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.

Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller is prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Pennsylvania State Police investigated this case. 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.

Updated July 14, 2015