For Immediate Release
Pittsburgh Felon Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gun Possession and Theft Charges
PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, false statements to the government, and theft of government money, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Octavio Rodriguez Shipman, 53, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to a three-count information charging possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, false statements to the government, and theft of government money.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in April 2018, Shipman’s paramour purchased a 9mm semi-automatic Canik pistol, which he took possession of shortly after. Around the end of April 2018, Shipman sold the Canik pistol to another individual in McKees Rocks. Shipman had been convicted of eight offenses in five different cases between 1992 and 2002. Federal law prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year from possessing a firearm.
The court was further advised that on or around July 12, 2018, Shipman falsely represented to federal law enforcement agents that another individual had sold him two bags of cocaine in exchange for $2,800.00 when in fact he and the other individual knowingly obtained a non-narcotic substance from a retail store, which Shipman represented to law enforcement agents was cocaine that he had purchased. The court was advised that Shipman willfully converted $2,800 in U.S. currency from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for his own use.
Judge Joy Flowers Conti scheduled sentencing for January 30, 2019. For the offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both. For the offense of false statement to the government, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than five years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both. For the offense of theft of government money, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney David Lew is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, conducted the investigation leading to the guilty pleas in these cases. These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.