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Arkansas businessman sentenced to 57 months in prison in multi-faceted federal case

Arkansas businessman sentenced to 57 months in prison in multi-faceted federal case

Arkansas – Neil Ravi Mehta, a 32-year-old resident of Fort Smith, Arkansas, has been sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple federal charges including the possession of an unregistered destructive device, tax fraud, and making false declarations in court. Additionally, Mehta’s company, Federal Armament LLC, received a sentence of five years probation and a substantial fine.

Legal Repercussions for Unlawful Activities

The sentencing took place under the supervision of Judge P.K. Holmes, III, in the U.S. District Court of Fort Smith. Mehta received a total of 57 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution amounting to $659,825.52. The legal consequences extend to Mehta’s business operations, with Federal Armament LLC fined $500,000 and ordered to forfeit unlawfully imported firearms.

According to the details provided by the court, on January 31, 2023, federal agents executed a search warrant at Mehta’s residence. Mehta fled the scene before officers could detain him, leading to a six-day manhunt. He was considered armed and dangerous during this period. Upon his arrest, authorities found a destructive device in Mehta’s home, which was not registered as required by federal law.

In addition to the charges of possessing an unregistered destructive device, Mehta was found guilty of significant tax fraud. Over several years, he failed to report millions of dollars from the operations of Federal Armament LLC. The company, which deals in manufacturing and selling ammunition and firearms, did not declare any of its gross receipts on Mehta’s personal tax filings for the years 2018 through 2021.

Check also: Federal court hands down 15-year sentence to convicted felon in Hot Springs

The situation escalated with Mehta’s false declarations during a deposition on December 14, 2021. The deposition was part of a civil lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor against Mehta and his company for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. During this legal proceeding, Mehta knowingly made false statements under oath regarding critical aspects of the lawsuit.

Issues with Federal Armament LLC

Simultaneously, Federal Armament LLC faced its legal battles. Federal agents seized 3,185 firearms from the company’s premises that were unlawfully imported due to not meeting specific regulatory standards, such as excessive magazine capacity or missing required engraving marks.

Furthermore, the company was involved in an incident where they provided misleading information on an export license application intended for firearm shipments to Poland. The application inaccurately listed an individual who was not associated with the company, complicating the legal infractions.

The prosecutions were led by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich. U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas underscored the collaborative effort of multiple federal agencies in bringing Mehta to justice. These agencies included the FBI, ATF, DOC’s Bureau of Industry and Security, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

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