DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Friday, January 19, 2024
Roger B. Handberg
, United States Attorney

Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Sale Paperwork

ORLANDO, Fla. — U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Angel Ruben Hernandez, Jr., 75, Altamonte Springs, has pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to record required information about firearms purchases. Hernandez faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for each count. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Hernandez was an owner and responsible party for Arms Hill LLC, a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL or Federal Firearms Licensee) from 2019 through 2023. In 2022, the FBI obtained information that Hernandez was supplying firearms to an individual who was unlawfully selling them to drug dealers and convicted felons and that Hernandez was falsifying paperwork in connection with supplying those firearms. FFL dealers who operate within the law require purchasers to complete specific forms (ATF Form 4473) and answer numerous questions about the buyer’s background and eligibility to purchase firearms. Firearms that are sold without a Form 4473 indicating the true purchaser are more valuable on the black market because they provide an avenue for otherwise prohibited persons to acquire firearms.

Beginning in April 2023, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), through a cooperating source, conducted a series of undercover purchases from Hernandez. On April 20 and 24, 2023, and again on May 1, 2023, Hernandez sold nine firearms to the ATF’s source. Hernandez charged above-market prices for the firearms while also creating false ATF Form 4473 forms documenting fake sales to Hernandez’s relatives. On May 19, 2023, during the execution of a search warrant, ATF agents found pre-filled ATF 4473 forms with information from Hernandez’s relatives that had been pre-populated and prepared for future fake sales. Hernandez’s FFL records indicate that nearly a quarter of his sales as an FFL from 2019-2023, including more than 260 firearms, were recorded as though they were sold to his relatives.

This case was investigated by ATF, with assistance from FBI, the Apopka Police Department and the Altamonte Springs Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dana E. Hill and Noah Dorman.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

###

Tampa Field Division