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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana
Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 20, 2023

Convicted Armed Robber Sentenced to More Than 5 Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Acquiring a Firearm Through a “Straw-Purchase” Scheme

INDIANAPOLIS- Randy Coffey, 36, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to illegally possessing a firearm.

According to court documents, on March 1, 2022, Coffey sold a pair of tires with rims at Cash America Pawn, a federally licensed firearms dealer. After completing the sale, Coffey attempted to purchase a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol. On the required federal firearm transaction form, Coffey stated under penalty of perjury that he was not a convicted felon. Coffey failed the required background check, and the gun sale was not completed.

Several hours later, Coffey returned to the same Cash America Pawn with another person. Coffey stayed inside his vehicle as the other person looked over the store’s guns and purchased a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol. The person then illegally purchased the gun for Coffey in exchange for $120 from Coffey, a transaction known as a “straw-purchase” of a firearm.

A straw purchase scheme is when a person not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm falsely states to a federally licensed gun dealer that they are purchasing a firearm for themselves, when they know that the gun is actually intended for someone else, frequently someone who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing the firearm themselves.

On March 8, 2022, IMPD detectives stopped Coffey for a traffic violation. Coffey did not have a valid license or a valid registration in his possession and he was placed under arrest. During a search of the vehicle, officers located the same Taurus 9mm handgun straw-purchased for him from Cash America Pawn the week before. The handgun had a loaded magazine with a round in the chamber.

Coffey is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law due to his two previous felony convictions of armed robbery resulting in bodily injury in 2006 and 2013.

“Illegally armed, violent criminals drive the unacceptable gun violence suffered by Indianapolis and far too many other communities,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “Straw-purchases and other gun trafficking schemes are a major source of the guns obtained and used by these dangerous offenders. Our federal prosecutors will continue to partner with IMPD and the ATF to disarm the most dangerous offenders and hold them accountable in federal court. The federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that accountability awaits these armed criminals, because no one should have to live in fear in our neighborhoods.”

“Violent felons possessing firearms poses a severe risk to public safety. Coffey illegally attempted to purchase a firearm and then circumvented the law by enticing someone else to obtain one for him,” said Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCormick. “ATF will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to identify and apprehend violent convicted felons who put our communities at risk when they possess firearms.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case with valuable assistance provided by IMPD. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge, James R. Sweeney. Judge Sweeney also ordered that Coffey by supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 3 years following his release from federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy C. Fugate, who prosecuted this case.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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