Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jerseyville Man Pleads Guilty to Multiple Firearm Offenses

A Jerseyville man pled guilty on June 15, 2012 , to four counts (he was not charged in the fifth count) of a five-count Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Make a False Statement During the Purchase of a Firearm (Count 1), Aiding and Abetting a False Statement During the Purchase of a Fireman (Counts 2-3) and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Previously Convicted Felon (Count 4), the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.

Calvin D. Loving, 31, of Jerseyville, Ill.–, faces a term of imprisonment on Count 1 of not more than 5 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than 3 years’ supervised release, and, on Counts 2 through 4, of not more than 10 years' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than 3 years' supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for September 20, 2012, in East St. Louis, Illinois. Loving has been detained (that is, held without bond) since his arraignment on January 5, 2012.

Essentially, Loving, along with others, purchased guns in a “straw” purchase for persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms. In more detail, Loving and a co-defendant agreed to work together to make money obtaining and selling firearms for profit. Specifically, they agreed that the co-defendant, who possessed a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card from the State of Illinois, would purchase the firearms, and Loving would sell the firearms to other individuals for profit. At the time of the agreement, Loving was a previously convicted felon who could not lawfully possess any firearms. On December 28, 2011, Loving and another co-defendant drove to a gun store where they met the first co-defendant. The co-defendant who rode with Loving was a drug user who was prohibited from possessing firearms.

While at the gun shop, Loving and the other co-defendants selected a gun, after it was inspected by Loving and the co-defendants. The three men left the store where the co-defendant who was prohibited from possessing firearms gave Loving money to purchase two of the guns the three men chose earlier. Loving then gave the money to the other co-defendant, and the three men returned to the gun shop. When the men learned that the gun shop only had one of the guns they previously chose in stock, the first co-defendant asked the clerk to show him another gun which he showed to Loving. Loving inspected the gun and selected it for purchase. The first co-defendant pulled out the money given to him by the other co-defendant to pay for the two firearms but he was unable to count it. Loving took the money from him, counted it, added some money of his own to make up the purchase price, and gave the money to the clerk. The clerk gave Loving the change, which Loving put in his pocket. Both guns were capable of accepting large capacity magazines, that is, both firearms had the ability to fire many rounds without reloading because they came with a magazine that could accept more than 15 rounds of ammunition.

In order to purchase the firearms, the first co-defendant was required to complete a Firearms Transaction Record (ATF Form 4473) which asks, among other things, whether the person buying the firearm is the actual buyer of the firearm. The form contains the following warning: “You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearms(s) to you.” The first co-defendant answered “yes” to the above question, knowing that, in fact, the answer was false because he was purchasing the gun for someone else.

On January 3, 2012, after the required waiting period, when the firearms were ready to be picked up, Loving and the first co-defendant drove to a shopping center where they met the codefendant who was prohibited from possessing firearms. Loving got into the car with this codefendant and rode with him to the gun shop. The first co-defendant drove his own vehicle. The co-defendant with the valid FOID card went into the gun shop while Loving and the other codefendant waited outside. An undercover ATF Agent, posing as a clerk at the gun store, went over ATF Form 4473 with this co-defendant, warning him that he was not the actual buyer of the firearm if he was buying the firearm for someone else. The undercover ATF agent also told him that the gun shop could not transfer the firearms to him if he was not the actual buyer. The co-defendant told the undercover ATF agent that he was the actual buyer, and the firearms were given to him.

This co-defendant took the firearms from the store and met with Loving and the second codefendant. The three agreed to travel to another location where the firearms would be transferred to the co-defendant who could not lawfully possess firearms. At this location, the co-defendant who purchased the firearms removed them from the trunk of his vehicle and placed them in the back seat of the vehicle driven by the co-defendant who could not legally possess firearms. Law enforcement officers placed the three men under arrest as they began leaving the location.

In a voluntary statement to law enforcement officers, Loving admitted that he agreed to act as a broker for the purchase of firearms by the second co-defendant, who he knew did not have a valid FOID card, and the first co-defendant, who did, and who was willing to make the "straw" purchase. Loving also admitted possessing one of the firearms, as well as the fact that he was a convicted felon and could not lawfully possess firearms.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Kit Morrisey.

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