For Immediate Release
Minnesota Woman Sentenced in Federal Firearms Case
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, woman convicted of Conspiracy to Make a False Statement During the Purchase of a Firearm was sentenced on August 10, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.
Justice May Yang, age 25, was sentenced to five years in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Yang was indicted for Conspiracy to Make a False Statement During the Purchase of a Firearm by a federal grand jury on June 6, 2019. She pled guilty on May 27, 2020.
On May 15, 2017, Yang went to purchase a gun in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with an acquaintance, specifically a Ruger model SR 40, 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun bearing serial number 342-99157. Yang knew she was prohibited from purchasing a firearm because she was a fugitive from justice. Yang, along with her acquaintance, completed the ATF Form 4473 in the presence of two clerks. Yang’s acquaintance signed the Form 4473 verifying the information to be true. Question 11.a. asks: "Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?" To that question, Yang falsely marked "Yes" on behalf of her acquaintance, and her acquaintance falsely verified the answer to be true by signing the form as "Transferee/Buyer." Yang paid for the firearm and kept it.
On May 25, 2017, Yang and her acquaintance again went to buy another firearm – a Ruger model 9E (black in color), 9 millimeter semi-automatic handgun, serial number 337-78160, with laser sight. Yang and her acquaintance knew Yang was still prohibited from purchasing firearms. To purchase the handgun, Yang’s acquaintance filled out ATF Form 4473 and falsely verified he was the actual buyer. Yang took possession of the firearm.
On August 12, 2017, Yang was shopping online. She found a previously owned gun on a website, with a location in Sioux Falls – a Ruger model SR 40C, 40 caliber, semi-automatic handgun, serial number 343-94362. Yang contacted her acquaintance and told him about the gun she wanted. Yang wired the money to her acquaintance so he could buy the firearm for her. Yang’s acquaintance picked up the wired money and went to the store, where he bought the handgun chosen by Yang. To purchase the handgun, Yang’s acquaintance filled out ATF Form 4473 and falsely verified he was the actual buyer. Yang’s acquaintance then drove to Madison, Wisconsin, where he gave the firearm to Yang.
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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
This case was investigated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Sioux Falls Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Haak prosecuted the case.
Yang was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.