United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced that on March 27, 2020, Robert Eugene Johnson, made his initial appearance in Federal Court. The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota unsealed a Complaint charging Johnson with False Statement during the purchase of a firearm. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that on March 23, 2020, Johnson attempted to purchase a firearm and filled out a form stating he had not been previously convicted of a felony or other offense punishable by a term of imprisonment greater than a year. However, Johnson is a convicted felon for the offense of Attempt to Evade or Defeat Tax and had been sentenced for that offense only a week earlier, March 16, 2020, in Federal Court in Fargo. 

Before Johnson was able to complete the purchase of the semi-automatic firearm in question, a query of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) revealed he was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm due to his recent tax evasion conviction. As a result Johnson was not allowed to complete his purchase of the firearm. A Complaint is an accusation and notice of charges, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

“Keeping firearms out of the hands of convicted felons is a pillar of our anti-violent crime initiated,” said United States Attorney Drew Wrigley, “and we look forward to presenting our evidence in court on these very serious allegations.” 

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

Assistant United States Attorney Jacob T. Rodenbiker is prosecuting the case.