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Press Release

Madison Man Sentenced for Participating in Straw Purchase of Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Wisconsin

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Isaiah Phillips, 18, Madison, Wisconsin was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 60 days in jail  for aiding and abetting a false statement during a purchase of a firearm. The period of incarceration will be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Phillips pled guilty to this charge on March 14, 2023.

On June 2, 2022, law enforcement in Fitchburg began an investigation into illegal purchasing of firearms, known as “straw purchasing,” involving Phillips and two others.

On February 7, 2021, an individual purchased a Glock 19X in DeForest, Wisconsin, and represented that she was the actual buyer of these firearms when in fact she was not. She had actually purchased the firearm for Phillips, who was a friend of her boyfriend. Phillips is under the age of 21 and cannot legally purchase a handgun.

The Glock 19X was stolen from Phillips in March. Subsequently, Phillips asked this same individual to purchase a second firearm for him and on March 22, 2021, that individual purchased a Glock 17 at the same firearms store in DeForest and gave that handgun to Phillips. She again misrepresented that she was the actual purchaser of the firearm when she was actually buying the firearm for Phillips. On July 17, 2022, Phillips was arrested during a traffic stop and found in possession of the Glock 17.

 At sentencing, Judge Peterson observed that Phillips was involved in “gun culture.” The judge’s decision to impose 60 days of jail time was driven by Phillips’s non-compliance on pretrial supervision. Judge Peterson remarked that he had “never had someone as defiant on pretrial supervision” as Phillips. The judge addressed that Phillips’s actions were irresponsible and that his behaviors are both “self-destructive and dangerous to the community.”

The charge against Phillips was the result of an investigation conducted by the Fitchburg, Madison, Monona, and Middleton Police Departments, Dane County Tactical Response Team, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn E. Ginsberg and Corey C. Stephan prosecuted this case. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated June 7, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods