For Immediate Release
Friday, June 29, 2018
, United States Attorney
Maria Chapa Lopez
Contact: William Daniels
Federal Jury Finds Licensed Firearms Dealer Guilty of Selling a Firearm and Ammunition to a Convicted Felon
Tampa Field Division
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that a federal jury has found Jay Loren Goldberg (51, Treasure Island) guilty of two counts of selling a firearm or ammunition to a convicted felon. Goldberg faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 3, 2018. Goldberg was indicted on April 5, 2018.
According to evidence presented at trial, in January 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) obtained information that convicted felons were obtaining firearms from a firearm dealer at Fast and Easy Pawn in St. Petersburg. During an undercover operation, ATF special agents utilized a confidential informant (CI) who was prohibited from possessing firearms due to felony convictions. Between February 23 and April 26, 2017, the CI, while monitored and supervised by ATF special agents, made several visits to Fast and Easy Pawn and met with Goldberg, the store’s proprietor and a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). On February 23, 2017, the CI told Goldberg that he/she was a convicted felon. On March 2, Goldberg sold a firearm to the CI through a straw purchaser. (A “straw purchaser” is a person who is not the actual buyer of the firearm; the straw purchaser buys a firearm for another person.) The straw purchaser, who had no criminal record and could pass the required background check, accompanied the CI to the store. The CI spoke with Goldberg and selected the pistol the CI wanted to buy, and the straw purchaser provided Goldberg with identification and filled out the form for the background check. The CI and Goldberg discussed a holster for the firearm, and the CI told Goldberg to include the holster in the firearm sale. When the CI attempted to hand cash to Goldberg to pay for the firearm and holster, Goldberg said that the money had to come from the straw purchaser. The CI then handed the money to the straw purchaser, who immediately handed it to Goldberg. After the required three-day waiting period, the CI returned to Fast and Easy Pawn on March 8. On that date, Goldberg sold the CI a box of ammunition and provided the CI with the firearm and holster.
Goldberg sold the CI a shotgun on March 9, and another shotgun on March 28. On April 26, Goldberg sold the CI another box of ammunition.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the St. Petersburg Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Sinacore and Thomas Palermo.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to develop districtwide crime reduction strategies, incorporating the lessons learned since the program’s inception in 2001. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.