Federal Department of Justice FBI state of Mississippi

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Pearl Man Found Guilty of Attempting to Acquire a Firearm by Fraud

Jackson, Miss. – Michael Wayne Pearson, 48, of Pearl, was found guilty yesterday, after a three day trial before U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate, of attempting to acquire a firearm by making fraudulent statements on a federal background check form and causing a federal firearms licensee to keep false information, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent in Charge Dana Nichols with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

On July 24, 2018, Pearson attempted to purchase a firearm from a gun shop in Pearl, Mississippi. He completed and signed ATF Form 4473 while at the gun shop as part of the federally required background check process. The form requires the firearm purchaser to designate whether they have ever been committed to a mental institution. Pearson fraudulently checked “No” and signed the form, certifying that his false answer was truthful. Under federal law, it is unlawful for a person who has been judicially committed involuntarily to either possess or purchase a firearm.

Pearson had previously been judicially committed for mental treatment by the Chancery Court of Rankin County. The firearm purchase was denied after the National Instant Criminal Background Check System rejected his attempted purchase due to his previous commitment for mental treatment.

Pearson was charged in a federal indictment on December 11, 2018, with making a false statement in an attempt to acquire a firearm and giving false information to a federal firearm licensee.

Pearson will be sentenced by Judge Wingate on July 18, 2019, and faces a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison and $500,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles W. Kirkham and Lynn Murray.

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