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Jury Mulls Fate of Four Shot Show Defendants

The first shot-show defendants to be tried in federal court in Washington, D.C. are now waiting for the jury to return its verdict. Their trial opened on May 16.

They were charged in a 44-count superceding indictment with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, violating the FCPA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aiding and abetting. They also face a forfeiture count. The judge dismissed the money-laundering conspiracy charges.

They are:

  • Pankesh Patel, a British citizen employed by Quartermaster’s Ltd., which sells military and law enforcement uniforms.
  • John Benson Wier III of St. Petersburg, Florida, the former president of SRT Supply Inc., which sells tactical and ballistic equipment. Wier has not been associated with SRT Supply, Inc. since January of 2010, and the company is under new management and ownership.
  • Andrew Bigelow of University Park, Florida, from Heavy Metal Armory, which sells machine guns, grenade launchers and other firearms.
  • Lee Tolleson of Mountain Home, Arkansas, from ALS Technologies, a company that sells law-enforcement and military equipment.

The government divided the original 22 defendants into four groups to make the trials more manageable. 

The defendants were charged with plotting to bribe the minister of defense for Gabon to sell military and law enforcement products. But the scheme was part of an FBI undercover operation and no foreign official was actually involved.

Three of the defendants have already pleaded guilty.

Haim Geri pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He faces 18 to 24 months in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date wasn’t set. He lives in Miami.

In March, Daniel Alvirez pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, and Jonathan Spiller pleaded guilty to one FCPA conspiracy count. They haven’t been sentenced.

In September last year, Richard Bistrong, the key intermediary between the FBI and the shot-show defendants, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other statutes. He’s waiting to be sentenced.

All but one of the defendants were arrested two years ago in Las Vegas. They were there to attend the shot show, a trade fair for military and law-enforcement equipment vendors.

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