18 January 2024- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Riley Simmons, age 32, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on January 16, 2023, to time-served (13 months in prison) by United States District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner for making materially false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms. Judge Conner also ordered Simmons to serve a two-year term of supervised release, including six months on home detention, and to pay a $700 fine.
According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Simmons previously pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm. Between September 2018 and February 2019, Simmons purchased five firearms from Federal Firearms Licensees in Dauphin and Cumberland Counties, knowing that they were for friends who were prohibited from possessing them due to prior felony convictions. Three of the firearms were later recovered in possession of felons with whom Simmons lived or associated. One of the firearms was used in a Harrisburg shooting in February 2019 and one bore the print of an individual wanted for attempted murder in Williamsport. Two of the firearms remain missing today.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Haugsby prosecuted the case.
This case was prosecuted under the new criminal provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress enacted, and the President signed in June 2022. The Act is the first federal statute specifically designed to target the unlawful trafficking and straw-purchasing of firearms.