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Fmr Georgia hospital employee pleads guilty to buying guns with hospital funds, selling for profit

The scheme included the purchase and resale of upwards of 100 firearms.

Russell Richardson, former DeKalb Medical Center, Inc. (DeKalb Medical) Director of Security, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently using hospital funds to acquire multiple handguns that he then sold for his personal benefit and financial gain.

“Richardson abused his position at the hospital, and manipulated the system for personal profit,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “His actions diverted hospital funds that could have been used to purchase critical medical supplies.”

“Richardson violated the trust placed in him as the Director of Security at DeKalb Medical Center,” said Arthur Peralta, Special Agent in Charge of ATF in Atlanta.  “Even worse, Mr. Richardson fraudulently obtained and sold guns without any concern as to who they were being sold to or where they would ultimately end up.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court:

Richardson, who was then the Director of Security at DeKalb Medical Center, was authorized to submit purchase requests and to approve purchases made on behalf of the Security Department. Richardson abused his position when, beginning in March 2016, he submitted purchasing requests to the hospital for firearms he intended to sell for his personal benefit. Since Richardson also approved the requests, the hospital paid for the firearms that Richardson subsequently took and sold for profit.

Then, starting in July 2017, Richardson used hospital letterhead to place orders directly with the firearms’ vendor. He concealed his gun purchases from the hospital by causing the vendor to send the invoices directly to him. Richardson then submitted false invoices to the hospital that listed the vendor’s name but falsely listed the items purchased. The hospital paid the invoices without knowing the funds were actually for the purchase of numerous firearms.

After acquiring firearms purchased with hospital money, Richardson advertised that he had guns for sale at gun courses he taught in South Carolina and on his social media sites.  He eventually sold many of them for 100% profit.

According to ATF records, and Richardson’s own admission, he acquired approximately 100 firearms since the inception of his fraud scheme.

Russell Richardson, 44, of Columbia, South Carolina, was indicted by a grand jury on August 13, 2019, for mail fraud, dealing firearms without a license, and selling firearms to non-state residents. Richardson pleaded guilty one count each of mail fraud and unlawfully transferring firearms to non-state residents. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracia M. King is prosecuting the case.

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