HARTFORD, Conn. - A Florida man waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of possession of a stolen firearm stemming from his possession of stolen firearms silencers. The plea is the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Richard Sleeva, 48, of Naples, Fla., waived his right to indictment during an appearance before Chief U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson.
According to court documents, Sleeva was a federal firearms licensee and had obtained silencers as a member of Gemtech's board of directors prior to his removal from the board in 2001. After his removal, he allegedly failed to comply with repeated demands by Gemtech to return the silencers. Gemtech then reported the firearms as stolen.
In pleading guilty, Sleeva admitted that from 2001 through September 2009, he unlawfully possessed three Gemtech firearms silencers at a former residence in Pennsylvania.
As part of the guilty plea, Sleeva agreed to forfeit more than 100 firearms that he owned and possessed at residences in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The firearms, which Sleeva voluntarily turned over to ATF agents in 2009, included more than 40 silencers and short-barreled shotguns, as well as several machine guns, semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles.
Judge Thompson has scheduled sentencing for Dec. 9, 2011. Sleeva faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. Sleeva was released on bond pending sentencing.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Spector.