Williamson County Judge Pleads Guilty to Firearms Violation and False Statement to a Government Agent
In Austin today, 70-year-old Williamson County Judge Timothy L. Wright, of Georgetown pleaded guilty to federal charges of engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license and making false statements to a Government agent announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge James Spero.
Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew W. Austin, Wright pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging one count of engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license and one count of false statements to Government agents. By pleading guilty, Wright admitted that beginning in June of 2014, he sold in excess of sixty firearms without a federal firearms license (FFL). Dozens of those firearms were sold to two individuals who were illegally smuggling the firearms into Mexico.
In September 2014, Wright was told by ATF that he needed an FFL in order to engage in the business of selling firearms. Wright agreed to cease and desist all sales until he had his FFL. Wright applied for his FFL and received training on the responsibilities of an FFL, including the prohibition of selling firearms to individuals with felony convictions.
After being confronted by ATF and agreeing to cease all sales, but before beginning to act as a licensed dealer, Wright conducted a firearm sale in December 2014 during which he fraudulently filled out an ATF form at a licensed firearms dealer stating he was the actual buyer of two Glock firearms. In truth, Wright had already received payment from a buyer for those two Glocks and falsely indicated on the ATF form that he was not buying the guns for another person.
After he became a licensed dealer, on three separate occasions in February 2015, a person who Wright knew was a convicted felon met with Wright and another person while Wright conducted firearm sales.
When Wright was interviewed by an ATF agent about his firearm selling activity, Wright falsely told the agent he had not sold any firearms from the time he applied for his FFL until the time he began selling as a licensed dealer. In fact, Wright had sold a firearm in December during that time period and, in addition to falsely filling out the ATF paperwork as described above, Wright even created false paperwork for his internal records with a false sale date of August 2014 intending to conceal the actual sale date. Wright also falsely told agents that he did not allow a convicted felon to be present during firearm sales when in fact he allowed the convicted felon to be present and also allowed the felon to handle the firearms during those transactions.
“While sworn to uphold the law, Judge Timothy Wright repeatedly violated federal laws governing the sale of firearms. He sold dozens of firearms without license, many of which went to people smuggling them to Mexico. He also falsified official firearms records to hide the true identity of the real buyer. These are serious crimes for which he is being held accountable,” stated Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
Today’s guilty plea of Timothy L. Wright, Williamson County Judge, sends a strong message that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will not tolerate the unlawful sale of firearms, regardless of the defendant’s position or status,” said James Spero, Special Agent in Charge, HSI San Antonio. “These serious gun charges are a breach of that public trust which puts the safety of our communities at risk.”
As a result of his guilty plea, Wright faces up to 60-months in federal prison. Sentencing is expected to occur later this year in front of United States District Judge Sam Sparks.
This case resulted from an investigation conducted by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Galdo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.