Los Angeles, California - A former officer with the Torrance Police Department (TPD) has been charged with being an unlicensed firearms dealer who sold dozens of guns, as well as certifying he was the actual purchaser of a handgun, when, in fact, he was buying the gun for another person, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Lindley Alan Hupp, 32, of Long Beach, was named in a two-count information filed in United States District Court. In conjunction with the charging document, federal prosecutors also filed a plea agreement in which Hupp agreed to plead guilty to the two felony offenses – engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and making a false statement in a federal firearm licensee’s records during purchase of a firearm.
According to the court documents, Hupp sold at least 48 firearms during an 8½-year period while employed by the TPD. Hupp sold another two guns in 2011 while serving as an auxiliary police officer with the Pasadena Police Department.
“In violation of federal law, Hupp sold firearms without a federal firearms license,” Hupp admitted in his plea agreement. “Hupp made a business of dealing firearms, in part, by abusing exemptions made available to him under California law as a sworn peace officer. Of the forty-eight (48) firearms defendant sold while employed at the TPD, thirty-six (36) firearms were ‘off roster’ firearms; that is, firearms that Hupp’s non-law enforcement customers could not have purchased directly from a licensed firearms dealer.”
While off roster firearms – which also are described in California statutes as “non-roster” or “unsafe” handguns – may be purchased by sworn law enforcement officers, who then may sell the firearms on the secondary market, Hupp admitted “repeatedly exploiting the privilege” by reselling off roster weapons soon after acquiring them. Hupp resold nearly half of the 36 off roster guns within 30 days of having initially purchased them.
In relation to the false statement count, Hupp admitted making a material false statement on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recertification form (Form 4473) when he purchased a Glock 9mm handgun in November 2015. After offering to sell two Glocks for sale on an online marketplace, Hupp purchased one Glock handgun from a Brea firearms dealer. When Hupp went to pick up the gun after the 10-day waiting period, he signed a Form 4473 in which he falsely certified he was “the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm” knowing that he was the “straw buyer” of the firearm on behalf on another individual who purchased the handgun from Hupp a few days later.
In exchange for Hupp’s acceptance of responsibility, cooperation with the investigation, and agreement to abandon to local law enforcement 42 firearms currently in his possession, the government has agreed to recommend a prison sentence of not more than 18 months. This recommendation, however, will not be binding on the sentencing judge, who could impose a sentence of up to 15 years in prison after Hupp pleads guilty to the two charges.
Hupp has agreed to make his initial appearance in United States District Court on December 3.
This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elisa Fernandez of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.