For Immediate Release
Philadelphia Woman Sentenced to Over One Year in Prison for Straw Purchasing Three Firearms in Montgomery County for Her Boyfriend
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Brihany Baker, 25, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, and two years of supervised release United States District Court Chief Judge Juan R. Sánchez for illegally purchasing three semi-automatic firearms for her romantic partner.
In November 2021, the defendant was convicted after trial on charges of criminal conspiracy to knowingly make false statements to a federal firearms licensee, and making a false statement to a federal firearms licensee, following a June 2020 investigation into straw purchasers at a gun dealer in Horsham, PA. Investigators were conducting surveillance of that store when they observed the defendant and her boyfriend, Donte Maxwell, enter the store. Maxwell was prohibited from purchasing firearms at the time he entered the store with the defendant. The investigators proactively delayed any sale of firearms to the defendant and obtained video from inside the store, which showed Maxwell place a $200 deposit on three semi-automatic firearms, handle the firearms, and take pictures of the firearms. The defendant subsequently returned to the store and purchased the three semi-automatic firearms, falsely stating on a federal form 4473 that she was buying them for herself and not another person.
“Our Office, together with our law enforcement partners, are ‘All Hands On Deck’ to interrupt and prevent violent crime in Philadelphia. One important tool in our arsenal is our ability to investigate and federally prosecute straw-purchasers,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “By charging crimes like straw purchasing of firearms, we can cut off the supply of illegal weapons at the source and hopefully prevent at least one violent act. Now, this defendant will spend serious time in federal prison for her crime.”
“Far too often, guns recovered by law enforcement officers originate from straw purchaser,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Office. “Typically, straw purchased firearms are used in violent crimes, so it is important to combat the gun violence at its source, which is straw purchasing. With his sentence, the entire community is a bit safer knowing Baker will no longer be able to purchase firearms for individuals who are not allowed to possess them. This is a great outcome thanks to our partners at the U.S Attorney’s Office.”
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 the Department’s 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 the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael R. Miller.