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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Richard D. Westphal, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, April 28, 2023

North Liberty Woman Sentenced to 12 Months in Prison Related to False Statements During the Purchase of Firearms

DAVENPORT, IA – A North Liberty woman was sentenced on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, to 12 months and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to making false statements during the purchase of firearms.

According to court documents and evidence presented at sentencing, Miracle Star Vaughn, 27, purchased seven handguns from Scheels, in Coralville, over a period of 18 months. During the firearms purchases, Vaughn provided false information regarding her address and her drug use. One of the firearms Vaughn purchased was recovered in Chicago in the possession of Dimione Walker. Walker was a felon prohibited from possessing firearms, and also had a federal warrant for his arrest. One of the other guns Vaughn purchased was recovered in the possession of her significant other and co-defendant, Michael Haythorn, also a felon prohibited from possessing firearms.

At sentencing, the District Court found that when law enforcement confronted her, Vaughn continued to provide false statements. The District Court considered the danger to the community created by Vaughn’s conduct and noted that Vaughn’s lack of criminal history allowed her to purchase these firearms.

After completing the prison term, Vaughn will be required to serve three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

Haythorn pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon. His sentencing is currently scheduled for May 23, 2023.

“Straw purchasing is a serious crime that contributes to the epidemic of gun violence,” United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa said. “We will continue to partner with federal and local law enforcement to hold accountable those who illegally purchase firearms.”

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Iowa City Police Department.

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. In May 2021, the Department of Justice 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.

If you have information pertaining to illegal firearms activity such as a straw purchase, please contact the ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867). Anonymous tips may also be submitted to ATF through the ReportIt mobile app.

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