A Springfield, Illinois, man, Demetrius S. Washington, 27, was sentenced on December 6, 2023, to a total of 108 months imprisonment: 96 months for possession of a weapon by a felon and a consecutive 12 months for wire fraud. In addition to the sentence of imprisonment, Washington was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $10,843.84 in restitution to the Small Business Administration.
At the sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Colleen R. Lawless, the government presented evidence that Washington, a convicted felon, was found in possession of a loaded Glock firearm with a 50 round drum magazine when he was arrested in connection with an unrelated case in March 2022. The government presented evidence that the recovered Glock firearm was test-fired and shell casings were entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). The NIBIN system reported a connection between the recovered firearm and an October 2021 shooting in Springfield.
That connection was confirmed by the ATF’s Forensic Science Laboratory. Additional evidence showed that during the October 2021 crime, Washington gave the firearm to a juvenile who, moments later, fired multiple shots at an occupied sedan in the parking lot of a gas station. No one was injured in the shooting. Further evidence indicated Washington was actively trying to obtain additional firearms during the six months between the shooting and his arrest on unrelated state charges. Additional evidence showed that Washington fraudulently obtained over $10,000 from the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
During the hearing, Judge Lawless noted that, as a result of Washington’s conduct, innocent citizens of Springfield had to flee for safety. Judge Lawless further remarked that the sentence was necessary to protect the public and deter others from similar crimes.
Washington remains in the custody of the United States Marshal Service, where he has been since his federal arrest on April 26, 2022. The defendant pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon by a felon and three counts of wire fraud on April 14, 2023, before United States Magistrate Judge Karen L. McNaught.
The statutory penalties for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person at the time of Washington’s offense were up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release. The statutory penalties for wire fraud are up to 20 years’ imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release.
“The ready availability of guns has caused an unacceptable spike of violence in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris. “For the protection of our community, we warn individuals contributing to such violence that federal, state, and local government agencies are working together to hold you accountable. We also will continue to prosecute COVID fraudsters and work to recover pandemic relief funds that were fraudulently obtained.”
“This case illustrates how Crime Gun Intelligence such as NIBIN helps law enforcement prioritize offenders who illegally possess firearms that were used in shootings,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Christopher Amon of the Chicago Field Division. “I commend the Central District of Illinois United States Attorney for prosecuting these felon in possession cases, holding accountable those who create such havoc in our community.”
“The Springfield Police Department is committed to preventing gun violence and holding those accountable who choose to break the law,” said Springfield Police Department Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations Sara Pickford. “This successful prosecution is another example of the flourishing partnership that has developed between the Springfield Police Department, ATF, and the United States Attorney’s Office.”
“The U.S. Secret Service and our law enforcement partners remain committed to identifying, investigating, and pursuing those who attempt to enrich themselves through fraudulent means,” said Stephen S. Webster, United States Secret Service Resident Agent in Charge, Springfield Resident Office. “We are proud of our partnerships with the federal, state, and local agencies who work collectively to hold these individuals accountable for their actions.”