U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Arizona
District of Arizona
For Immediate Release
Monday, November 28, 2011
Ann Birmingham Scheel, United States Attorney
Contact: Manuel Tarango, Public Affairs Officer
Australian Citizen Sentenced to 24 Months for Illegal Possession of Firearms
PHOENIX — Elie Malkoun, 53, of Victoria, Australia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton to 24 months in the Bureau of Prisons plus three years of supervised release. The defendant pleaded guilty on July 19, 2011, to one count of Alien Illegally or Unlawfully in the United States in Possession of a Firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(A).
On March 20, 2011, ATF agents contacted Malkoun, who possessed three firearms and two large–capacity magazines that accompanied one of the weapons. Malkoun was unlawfully present in the United States because he made a material misrepresentation on his U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application, which he was required to fill out to gain authorization to travel to the United States.
In 1989, Malkoun pleaded guilty to trafficking in heroin in a commercial quantity in Australia, and was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. In 2010, on the ESTA application form Malkoun was required to fill out prior to traveling to the United States, he answered
Yes to the question of whether or not he had been convicted of a drug trafficking offense. His application was denied. Then, on a February 2011 ESTA application, Malkoun answered
No to the same question. Based on Malkoun’s material misrepresentation, his 2011 application was granted. On March 13, 2011, Malkoun arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport port of entry, and was questioned by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer because of the denial of his 2010 application. At that time, he lied to the officer by stating that he had never been convicted of any crimes. Based on his additional misrepresentations, Malkoun was admitted, but his presence in the United States was unlawful.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, El Centro, California Field Office, and Phoenix Field Office, with assistance from Immigration Customs Enforcement, Phoenix. The prosecution was handled by Christina Covault, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR–11–565–PHX–SRB
RELEASE NUMBER: 2011–262(Malkoun)