DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release

Thursday, November 1, 2018
Scott W. Brady
, United States Attorney

Washington, Pa. Felon Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing A Stolen Pistol and Ammunition

PITTSBURGH – A Washington County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating the federal firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

James Roosevelt Leach, age 47, of Washington, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on December 14, 2016, the Pennsylvania State Police performed a traffic stop on a vehicle near the City of Washington, in Washington County. Mr. Leach, the driver and lone occupant, was found in possession of a box of 9mm caliber ammunition; underneath the driver’s seat of Mr. Leach’s vehicle, the state police seized a loaded, stolen 9mm semi-automatic Ruger pistol. Mr. Leach admitted to the state police that he bought the pistol on the street. Federal law prohibits Leach, a felon previously convicted in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania, of crimes including rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for March 12, 2019, at 10 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

The Pennsylvania State Police and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation leading to the plea in this case.


Philadelphia Field Division