Three Defendants Plead Guilty in the Lawman Gun Shop Case
SAN JUAN, PR—María Del Carmen Rivera-Negrón, Julio Colón-Santiago, and Rivera Pagán & Asociados, Inc., d/b/a The Lawman Gun Shop pled guilty today announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
On or about the 21st day of May, 2012, in the District of Puerto Rico, the defendants aiding and abetting others, did willfully and knowingly cause, without lawful authority, production of identification documents, authentication features, and false identification documents, to wit, a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Concealed Carry Weapons Permit under Weapons Permit Number XX129, with the help of attorney and notary public Antonio Peluzzo-Perotin.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) are in charge of the investigation.
María Del Carmen Rivera-Negrón and Julio Colón-Santiago co-owned The Lawman Gun Shop, a federally licensed firearms (FFL) dealer. Using their positions, the defendants participated in a scheme to have Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Concealed Carry Weapons Permits issued without compliance with applicable law.
Defendants admit that they participated in the scheme for pecuniary gain and stipulated that the loss generated during the course of the scheme, which involved possession of five or more means of identification and involved over 250 victims, was greater than $1,000,000.
The defendants will request a sentence of five years of imprisonment while the United States may argue for a sentence of up to 12 years of imprisonment.
Defendants admitted that they used their special skills as owners of an armory and federally licensed firearms dealers in order to carry out the scheme. The Board of Directors of Rivera Pagán & Asociados, Inc., d/b/a The Lawman Gun Shop also authorized a guilty plea on behalf of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico corporation.
María Del Carmen Rivera-Negrón, Julio Colón-Santiago, and Rivera Pagán & Asociados, Inc., d/b/a The Lawman Gun Shop admitted that the scheme permitted unqualified individuals to carry firearms without being properly vetted under the law thereby circumventing the statutory, judicial, and bureaucratic processes for obtaining a Puerto Rico Concealed Carry Weapons Permit.
The corporation known as The Lawman Gun Shop also plead guilty and will forfeit their federal firearms license and is now exposed to monetary fines of up to $250,000.
Sentencing hearings were scheduled for December 11, 2014. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys José Capó-Iriarte and Luke Cass.