DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Friday, June 22, 2018
Grant C. Jaquith
, United States Attorney

Pittsford Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Purchase of Shotgun Used to Kill His Father

Former Cornell Student, a Canadian Citizen, Admits to Causing the Straw Purchase of a Shotgun, and Receiving it Knowing it Would be Used to Shoot his Father

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Charles J. Tan, age 22, of Pittsford, New York, and a citizen of Canada, pled guilty today to crimes related to the unlawful purchase of a firearm that was used to kill his father in 2015, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)-New York Field Division.
 
As part of his guilty plea to the crime of receiving a firearm in interstate commerce intending to use it in the commission of a felony, Tan admitted that in February 2015 he caused a fellow Cornell University student to make an unlawful “straw purchase” of a 12-gauge shotgun for him.  Tan admitted to falsely telling the fellow student that he needed the firearm for hunting, when his actual intent was that it be used to shoot his father.
 
United States Attorney Grant Jaquith said, “Thanks to the perseverance and collaboration of federal and local law enforcement, Charles Tan is being held accountable for arranging for the unlawful purchase of a shotgun so he could use it to shoot his father. We will continue to work diligently with ATF and other federal, state, and local partners to fulfill our commitment to combat violent crime.”
 
“Mr. Tan circumvented the law and illegally obtained a firearm. Crimes involving illegal possession of firearms lie at the heart of ATF’s mission to protect the public from violent crime. I would like to thank our law enforcement partners that stand with ATF as one united front to protect our citizens from individuals that choose to disobey laws intended to preserve public safety. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the United States Attorney’s Office for their work in prosecuting the case,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives-New York Field Division.
 
Tan also pled guilty to two offenses related to misrepresentations made to the federally licensed firearms dealer at the time of the “straw purchase” of the shotgun. In entering these guilty pleas, Tan admitted that he knew his fellow Cornell University student would have to lie on a background check form as to the true identity of the actual purchaser (Charles Tan). This form, known as the Department Of Justice – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473, required that Tan’s fellow Cornell University student falsely sign and certify he was the actual purchaser in order to buy the shotgun. This was false because the purchase was actually and truly being made for Charles Tan, who supplied the money for the sale. In pleading guilty today, Charles Tan admitted to aiding, abetting and causing his fellow Cornell University student to make the false statement on the ATF Form 4473 as to the identity of the actual purchaser, a fact material to the lawful purchase of the firearm.   
 
Sentencing is scheduled for October 18, 2018 in Syracuse. The defendant faces a sentence of up to 25 years in prison. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
 
This case was investigated by the ATF and the Monroe County (New York) Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lisa M. Fletcher and Miroslav Lovric. 
 
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Field Division: New York Field Division