Bureau of Prisons employee convicted of illegal firearm possession and witness tampering

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

Seattle – An employee at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Detention Center (FDC), was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of two federal felonies related to his conduct outside of his employment, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  Joshua Adam Shuemake, 37, was convicted of illegal firearm possession, and witness tampering after a three-day jury trial.  The jury deliberated about three hours before reaching its verdicts.

“Truthful and honest conduct is the minimum we expect from federal employees,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  “Mr. Shuemake tried to fool the King County court, federal investigators, and his employer, by violating the order of the court, the rule of law, and specific employment rules. We appreciate the jury taking the time to see through the web of lies.”

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, following a domestic violence incident in April 2021, Shuemake was served with a no contact order and informed by a King County judge that he had to surrender all firearms.  Shuemake signed a statement saying he had no firearms.  However, evidence at trial showed Shuemake working as a restaurant and bar security guard, and despite the court order, he was seen on surveillance video multiple times with a firearm in a holster on his hip. When law enforcement searched the apartment where they had seen Shuemake living, they found a handgun in the closet. The gun had Shuemake’s DNA on the grip.  Shuemake tried to claim he lived at a different address, and then pressured friends to lie to investigators about how the gun came to be in the apartment.

In closing argument, Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Manca noted how Shuemake tried to get others to lie to the FBI and to the court about his conduct saying, “He manipulated, abused and exploited the people in his life to try to get away with these crimes.”

In addition to the two guilty verdicts, the jury found Shuemake “not guilty” of lying to federal investigators.

Shuemake has been on unpaid leave from the Bureau of Prisons pending the outcome of this case.

Illegal possession of a firearm is punishable by up t0 10 years in prison. Witness tampering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  The ultimate sentence is up U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones who can impose any sentence up to the statutory maximum after considering the sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was investigated by the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Manca and Cindy Chang.