A former officer with the Torrance Police Department has been charged with being an unlicensed firearms dealer who sold dozens of guns, as well as certifying he was the actual purchaser of a handgun, when, in fact, he was buying the weapon for another person, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Lindley Alan Hupp, 32, of Long Beach, was charged Friday in Los Angeles federal court with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and making a false statement in a federal firearm licensee’s records during purchase of a firearm, according to the DOJ.
Federal prosecutors also filed a plea agreement Friday in which Hupp agreed to plead guilty to the two felony offenses.
According to court documents, Hupp sold at least 48 firearms during an 8 1/2-year period while employed by the Torrance PD. He sold another two guns in 2011 while serving as an auxiliary police officer with the Pasadena Police Department.
“In violation of federal law, Hupp sold firearms without a federal firearms license,” the defendant’s plea agreement states. “Hupp made a business of dealing firearms, in part, by abusing exemptions made available to him under California law as a sworn peace officer. Of the 48 firearms defendant sold while employed at the TPD, 36 firearms were `off roster’ firearms; that is, firearms that Hupp’s non-law enforcement customers could not have purchased directly from a licensed firearms dealer.”
While off-roster firearms — which also are described in California statutes as “non-roster” or “unsafe” handguns — may be purchased by sworn law enforcement officers, who then may sell the firearms on the secondary market, Hupp admitted “repeatedly exploiting the privilege” by reselling off-roster weapons soon after acquiring them, according to prosecutors. He resold nearly half of the 36 off-roster guns within 30 days of having initially purchased them.
The false statement count involves a material false statement that Hupp made on a U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recertification form when he purchased a Glock 9mm handgun in November 2015, according to court documents.
After offering to sell two Glocks for sale on an online marketplace, Hupp purchased one Glock handgun from a Brea firearms dealer. When Hupp went to pick up the gun after the 10-day waiting period, he signed a Form 4473 in which he falsely certified he was “the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm” knowing that he was the “straw buyer” of the firearm on behalf on another individual who purchased the handgun from Hupp a few days later.
In exchange for Hupp’s acceptance of responsibility, cooperation with the investigation and agreement to turn over to local law enforcement 42 firearms currently in his possession, the government has agreed to recommend a prison sentence of not more than 18 months. That recommendation, however, will not be binding on the sentencing judge, who could impose a sentence of up to 15 years in prison after Hupp pleads guilty to the two charges, according to the Justice Department.
Hupp is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 3.
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