Lewiston Man Sentenced for Straw Purchasing Multiple Firearms

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BANGOR, Maine—A Lewiston man was sentenced today in federal court for making false statements during the purchase of firearms, U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee announced.

U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr., sentenced Jake Scherer, 24, to three months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. Scherer pleaded guilty on August 3, 2021.

According to court records, on April 30, 2020, Scherer purchased handguns from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Levant. When completing the sale, Scherer completed a Firearms Transaction Record form in which he falsely reported that he was the actual purchaser of the firearms. On May 22, 2020, Scherer purchased firearms from a licensed dealer in Houlton, and again falsely stated he was the actual purchaser. Scherer was purchasing the firearms for someone else on both occasions.

Straw purchasing typically involves a buyer who can lawfully purchase firearms but who then provides them to another person who is legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, therefore allowing the prohibited person to illegally obtain firearms and avoid the national background check system.

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.  

The prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative. PSN is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, community leaders and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. PSN is coordinated by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the 94 federal judicial districts throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories. PSN is customized to account for local violent crime problems and resources. Across all districts, PSN follows four key design elements of successful violent crime reduction initiatives: community engagement, prevention and intervention, focused and strategic enforcement, and accountability.

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