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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

River Falls Man Sentenced To 10 Years For Possessing Sawed-Off Shotgun

MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Michael Allan Hancock, 42, of River Falls, Wis., was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 10 years in federal prison for unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun and possession of a firearm by a felon, to be followed by three years of supervised release.  Hancock was found guilty of these charges on January 6, 2015, following a jury trial. 

In August 2013, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on a property in River Falls, where Hancock was the property’s caretaker and living in a trailer on the property.  Officers found a loaded sawed-off shotgun hidden in the couch cushions in the trailer.  Hancock, a multiple-convicted felon, was prohibited from possessing any firearms.  Federal law prohibits any individual from possessing a sawed-off shotgun.

Shortly after his arrest, Hancock sent a letter to a witness who was also in jail and who had provided information to the police alleging criminal activity by Hancock.  In the letter, Hancock wrote, “I wonder why you would say these things and realize your children are alone?”  While still in custody, Hancock was recorded on the telephone attempting to recruit his girlfriend to find witnesses would falsely say that the sawed-off shotgun found in the trailer had been placed there by a man who had since died.

Judge Crabb found that the threatening letter and the telephone call were attempts to obstruct justice.  Judge Crabb found that Hancock was sexually aberrant and said that narcissism and bullying were keystones of his character. The federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence between 6 ½ to 8 years.  Judge Crabb found that it was necessary to impose the higher sentence of 10 years in order to protect the public.

The charges against Hancock were the result of an investigation conducted by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin Burke and Munish Sharda. 

Updated July 14, 2015