IOWA – A police chief in Adair, Iowa has been indicted on federal charges for allegedly lying to buy machine guns.
AdairChief of Police Brad Wendt, 46, and Robert Williams, 46, were both charged with making false statements to ATF regarding the police department wanting to buy machine guns, according to The Associated Press.
“Brad Wendt is charged with exploiting his position as chief of police to unlawfully obtain and sell guns for his own personal profit. The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold accountable those who violate their oath of office to enrich themselves,” said FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel in a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to court records, Wendt allegedly purchased about 10 machine guns for the police department. Some were later sold at a profit, the AP reported.
Prosecutors said Wendt had reportedly acquired another 13 machine guns for his gun store by making false statements to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, stating that the police department wanted “a demonstration of each of them.” According to the AP, Wendt also allegedly helped Williams to purchase 10 machine guns for his business that had a federal firearms license and did so by making other statements.
According to the AP, both Williams and Wendt allegedly held public machine gun shooting events where people paid to shoot one of the fully automatic weapons.
Prosecutors said that they believed Wendt and Williams were possibly trying to stockpile the guns to sell later. They also said that Wendt and Williams allegedly tried to purchase or demonstrate 90 machine guns for the Adair Police Department since 2018, according to the AP.
“This case demonstrates the importance of ATF’s vigilance in regulating federal firearms licensees and bringing to justice those who willfully circumvent federal law in favor of personal profit and abuse public trust. Today’s indictment is the result of seamless collaboration by ATF and our law enforcement partners,” said Fred Winston, Special Agent in Charge, ATF – Kansas City Field Division, in the news release.
Wendt and Williams have been charged with conspiracy to make false statements and defraud the ATF, according to the DOJ. Wendt has been charged with 18 counts of making false statements to the ATF and a count of illegal possession of a machine gun. Williams has been charged with three counts of making a false statement, and aiding and abetting a false statement to the ATF.
The DOJ said that if Wendt is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison. If Williams is convicted, he could face a maximum of five years in prison.
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