Dealer in Lake County Sheriff's gun reselling case starts sentence

Contributed By:The 411 News

Pennsylvania firearms dealer sentenced to 100 months imprisonment

The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, Thomas L. Kirsch II, announced that Vahan Kelerchian, 58, of Richboro, Pennsylvania, doing business as Armament Services International was sentenced before Senior District Court Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen for his role in the acquisition of machineguns and restricted laser aiming sights.

Kelerchian was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment, ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and $28,200 in restitution along with serving 1 year of supervised release upon release from prison. Kelerchian was found guilty after a two-week trial that ended October 15, 2016. Kelerchian was taken into custody upon sentencing to begin serving his sentence.

According to evidence presented at trial, Kelerchian conspired with Joseph Kumstar and Ronald Slusser, now former Lake County Police Officers, to knowingly make false statements relating to the acquisition of firearms. Kumstar and Slusser, who have plead guilty, used their positions as sworn law enforcement officers in coordination with Kelerchian.

Kelerchian, a Class 3 Federal Firearms Licensee sold 71 fully automatic machineguns to Kumstar and Slusser in the name of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, knowing that the Lake County Sheriff’s Department was not going to be the true owner of these weapons.

Kelerchian, Kumstar and Slusser conspired to use law enforcement letterhead to create letters which falsely represented that the machineguns were going to be used by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. Machine guns manufactured after 1986 can only be acquired by law enforcement agencies and not individual officers.

The machineguns were purchased for a cost of $1200 and $1600 each, and then when received by the Sheriff’s Department were transported offsite to be parted out. The barrels (also known as the “upper”) were split with the officers and some were sent back to Kelerchian.

The “uppers” sold between $3000 and $3600 due to post-1986 parts not being available to the public because only law enforcement agencies or the military can acquire these weapons.

Kelerchian also used ASI to assist Kumstar and Slusser to acquire 74 restricted laser aiming sights, again using law enforcement letterhead from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the Lowell Police Department.

Kelerchian was also found guilty of money laundering and false statements to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regarding false demonstration letters involving high powered belt-fed machine guns. Kelerchian was also charged with bribery but was acquitted of that charge.

Joseph Kumstar was sentenced to 57 months; Edward Kabella was sentenced to 24 months; and Ronald Slusser was sentenced to 70 months for their involvement in this case.

Story Posted:02/05/2018

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