Wolf Point Herald

Elk Pleads Guilty In U.S. Federal Court

Chauncey Leo Elk, a 24-year-old resident of Poplar, pleaded guilty to false statement during a firearms transaction reports the United States Attorney’s Office following a federal court session in Great Falls Oct. 29 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong.

Sentencing has been set for Jan. 14. He is currently released on special conditions.

In an offer of proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On April 3, 2013, Elk made a false statement on an ATF Form 4473 during his attempt to purchase a Marlin .22 caliber rifle in Wolf Point at the Swap Shop. At that time, Elk was under prosecution and previously appeared on a federal indictment charging him with firearms offenses — one felony and one misdemeanor — straw purchase and transfer of a handgun to a juvenile.

Elk personally appeared before Magistrate Strong on March 12, 2013, in Great Falls. Strong warned Elk that committing another offense while on pretrial release could subject him to further prosecution. 

The Swap Shop maintains a federal firearms license to deal in firearms.  The Swap Shop’s federal firearms license was valid before, during and after April 3. As a federal firearms licensee, the Swap Shop is required to maintain the ATF Form 4473 from all firearms transactions. 

When Elk filled out the ATF Form 4473 on April 3, 2013, at the Swap Shop, he checked that he was not under prosecution or indictment for a felony offense, which led the Swap Shop to believe that the Marlin .22 caliber rifle could be lawfully sold to him. 

He faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.