INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that William "Ricky" Harris, age 34, of Indianapolis, has been sentenced to 72 months (6 years) in prison by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker. This follows his plea of guilty to charges of possessing firearms as a convicted felon and access device fraud.
"I know I sound like a broken record, but this Office simply has no tolerance for convicted felons who illegally arm themselves," Hogsett said. "We are doing all we can to help reduce violent crime, and we are committed to keeping guns out of the hands of violent, repeat offenders in this Indianapolis."
In pleading guilty, Harris admitted that on December 13, 2011, he was found by law enforcement to be in possession of a dozen different firearms. In 2003, Harris was convicted of a felony in Marion County, and therefore is not legally entitled to possess firearms. Guns confiscated from Harris included:
•Beretta .32 caliber pistol
•Marlin .22 caliber rifle
•Winchester 16 gauge shotgun
•High Standard 12 gauge shotgun
•Winchester 12 gauge shotgun
•Kel-Tec .223 caliber pistol
•Henry .22 caliber rifle
•Harrington & Richardson .410 shotgun
•Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol
•Browning 12 gauge shotgun
•Ruger .357 caliber revolver
In addition, Harris pleaded guilty to charges that he possessed 15 or more counterfeit access devices, such as credit cards, debit cards, and fraudulent account numbers. The information filed earlier this year specifically describes a number of counterfeit gift cards that had been re-encoded with fraudulent account information. During the course of the investigation, Harris also admitted that he had been a drug dealer in Indianapolis for many years, selling both marijuana and heroin.
These indictments come as part of the U.S. Attorney's Violent Crime Initiative (VCI), and are the result of collaborative investigative efforts by the ATF, the United States Secret Service, and local law enforcement.
Launched in March 2011, the VCI has produced a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges brought federally – from just 14 charges in 2010 to more than 110 last year. Already in 2012, 61 felon in possession of a firearm charges have been filed as part of the Violent Crime Initiative, putting the office on pace to meet or exceed last year's total.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers, who prosecuted the case for the government, Harris was also sentenced to 3 years of supervised release to be served upon his release. Federal sentencing rules require that, at a minimum, Harris will serve 85% of his sentence in prison.