Philadelphia Woman Convicted of Straw Purchasing Firearms in Bucks County

LegalImage by Mike Braun

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Brihany Baker, 25, of Philadelphia, PA, was convicted Tuesday, at trial, of illegally purchasing three semi-automatic firearms for her romantic partner.

In November 2020, the defendant was charged by Indictment with criminal conspiracy to knowingly make false statements to a federal firearms licensee, and making a false statement to a federal firearms licensee. The charges stem an investigation into straw purchasers of firearms at a gun dealer in Horsham, PA in June 2020. Investigators were conducting surveillance of that store when they observed the defendant and another individual, who was prohibited from purchasing firearms, enter the store. The investigators then proactively delayed any sale of firearms to the defendant and while obtaining video from inside the store, which showed the prohibited purchaser, who was also the defendant’s boyfriend, Donte Maxwell, place a $200 deposit on three semi-automatic firearms, handle the firearms, and take pictures of the firearms.

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Then, in July 2020, the defendant returned to the store and purchased the three semi-automatic firearms, stating on a federal form 4473 that she was buying them for herself and not another person. The defendant subsequently confessed that she lied on the form and actually bought the firearms for her boyfriend. At the time of the purchase, Mr. Maxwell faced a felony charge and was prohibited from buying firearms.

“The purpose of our ‘All Hands On Deck’ initiative is, first and foremost, to prevent violent crime, which includes targeting for prosecution straw firearms purchasers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “By charging crimes like straw purchasing of firearms, where firearms are purchased in order to turn them over to people who are prohibited from legally buying or possessing them, we can cut off the supply of illegal weapons at the source. Now, this defendant will face the consequences of her actions.”

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“ATF is committed to keeping firearms out of the hands of individuals prohibited from legally possessing them,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “Straw purchasing is a serious offense in which ATF along with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, will continue to investigate and prosecute those responsible. This conviction ensures this defendant can no longer purchase firearms for others.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Miller.

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