Man 1 of 6 indicted with fraud in Arizona
Though requests for gun-related permits and background checks are up throughout the state and nation, Hal Goldstein, owner of The Armory gun shop in Annapolis, says sales are off 50 to 60 percent at his business
The owner of a Parole gun shop is one of six men named in a 107-count indictment filed in federal court in Phoenix, Ariz., last week.
Hal Goldstein, owner of The Armory, at 24 Defense St., off West Street at Solomons Island Road, along with Randoph Benjamin Rodman, owner of Silver Spring-based R&S Arms, and four Arizona men were charged with conspiring to commit fraud to possess and transfer machine guns in violation of the National Firearms Act, according to the 39-page indictment filed July 27.
The indictment alleges the men "harvested" serial numbers from older machine guns and welded those numbers onto pricier machine guns they had specially made. In doing this, investigators said they ducked the 1986 federal machine gun ban. The ban prohibits the possession or transferring of machine guns made after May 1986.
The investigation dates to 2007, when special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix, Ariz., began looking at George Clark, a licensed NFA manufacturer of Class III weapons, such as machine guns.
Special agents received information that Clark, of Arizona, was taking previously registered Military Armament Corporation-style 9mm/.45-caliber machine guns and altering them to model 1919 belt-fed .30-caliber machine guns.
These MAC machine guns were manufactured before May 19, 1986, making them "pre-ban" machine guns. This means they could be transferred to anyone with the appropriate tax stamp and sold for a large profit.
The indictment states that for 15 years, Clark destroyed pre-ban machine guns by cutting off the serial number and nameplates. It alleges that Clark then welded the serial number and nameplates to the frame area of newly constructed model 1919s, Thompson submachine guns, and other dissimilar machine guns.
Agents likened this to removing the vehicle identification number from one vehicle and welding it onto another.
On March 20, 2008, ATF agents served a search warrant at Clark's home in Gold Canyon, Ariz. When asked about machine gun sales, Clark told agents he recognized Goldstein's name, and had done machine gun transactions with him in the past, the indictment states.
Agents found documents inside Clark's home that led them to believe Clark and Goldstein had several transactions involving the manufactured machine guns.
Clark admitted he has sold .30- caliber machine guns to Goldstein in the past.
First thing the following morning, ATF agents from Phoenix traveled to Maryland and raided The Armory on Defense Street, as well as businesses and residences in the 800 block of Coachway in Annapolis, 8204 Bodkin Ave. in Pasadena, and the 100 block of Holsum Way in Glen Burnie - all of which are tied to Goldstein.
During their trip to Maryland, ATF agents also searched homes and businesses tied to Rodman in the 900 block of Philadelphia Avenue in Silver Spring and the 4900 block of Linsborough Terrace in Bowie.
They seized more than 100 machine guns and other various firearms between the six raids, including an Israeli rocket launcher. They also found dozens of machine gun parts, tools, electronics, and more than $38,000 in cash, court records show.
Joseph Conte, who represents Goldstein, could not be reached yesterday for comment.
Court documents here: http://www.citypaper...ry.asp?id=20486