U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Virginia
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2010
Timothy J. Heaphy, United States Attorney
Contact: Brian McGinn
(434) 293-4910 (fax)
Front Royal Man Indicted on Gun Charges
Don Simonpietri Is Accused of Illegally Selling Firearms
HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA — A former federally licensed firearms dealer has been charged with illegally selling guns without a license and selling guns to convicted felons at a flea market in Front Royal, Virginia.
Don Francis Simonpietri, 64, of Front Royal, Virginia, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg. The indictment, returned under seal, was made public today following the defendants initial court appearance.
The grand jury has charged Simonpietri with one count of conspiracy to deal firearms without a license, one count of dealing in firearms without a license, three counts of selling or giving firearms to a convicted felon, two counts of possession of a machine gun and three counts of possession of a firearm not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2005, Simonpietri conspired with others to illegally engage in the business of dealing firearms without being a licensed dealer. The grand jury has charged that Simonpietri repeatedly sold numerous firearms, without a license, to individuals he knew were previously convicted felons and therefore ineligible to possess or purchase firearms. In addition, the defendant is charged with illegally possessing two machine guns and possessing firearms, including a 61 mm Mortar, not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture in which the United States is seeking the forfeiture of 1,100 firearms.
If convicted, the maximum penalty faced by the defendant is up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for the conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license charge, up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the three charges of selling/disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon, up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the two counts of possession of a machine gun and up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for each of the three counts of possession of a firearm not registered under NFA.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Front Royal Police Department and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Ronald Huber and Grayson Hoffman will prosecute the case for the United States.
A Grand Jury indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.