DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Wifredo A. Ferrer
, United States Attorney
Contact: Sarah Schall

Palm Beach County Resident Convicted for Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

A Riviera Beach resident was convicted by a jury for being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Division, Stephen J. Stepp, Chief, Palm Beach Gardens Police Department (PBGPD) and Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), made the announcement. 

Joseph McDonald, 36, of Riviera Beach was convicted following a three-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  McDonald was previously convicted in state court for being a felon in possession.    McDonald faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison for the crimes of conviction.  McDonald is scheduled to be sentenced on September 30, 2015, at 10:30 a.m.

According to evidence presented at trial, McDonald fled from the police during two separate stolen vehicle investigations.  On July 28, 2013, McDonald dropped a fully loaded Smith & Wesson 9 mm semi-automatic pistol during his flight from members of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.  On December 17, 2013, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputies recovered a fully loaded Ingram Mac 10 semi-automatic pistol from McDonald’s path of flight. 

This case is, in large part, the result of the Violence Reduction Partnership, launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Through this Partnership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and local law enforcement allies have sought to dismantle the most violent criminal networks in various neighborhoods, while simultaneously working with community leaders and concerned citizens to mentor at-risk youths, provide jobs and job training to young families, and help probationers and parolees successfully re-enter society.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ATF, PBGPD and PBSO.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandy Galler and Daniel Funk.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on


Miami Field Division