Richard Wyatt, the former star of Discovery Channel’s reality TV series American Guns, was convicted on 10 felony counts by a U.S. District Court on Friday, according to a report from the Denver Post. The convictions were for charges of felony fraud, conspiracy, dealing firearms without a license and tax evasion charges.
The jury was hung on three additional charges of illegally importing weapons.
“Richard Wyatt, 53, of Evergreen, was taken into custody immediately following the guilty verdict in Denver U.S. District Court Friday afternoon and awaits sentencing at a later date,” the Post reports. “Wyatt faces up to 15 years in a federal prison, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer.”
— Raw Story (@RawStory) March 11, 2017
The American Guns TV show centered around Wyatt’s Wheat Ridge, Colorado, gun store called Gunsmoke Guns and his family and employees. The show aired on the Discovery Channel from 2011 to 2012.
Prior to opening Gunsmoke Guns and appearing on American Guns, Richard Wyatt worked in law enforcement for 22 years, eventually becoming the chief of police in Alma, Colorado, according to ABC News.
Despite his earlier law enforcement experience, Fridays’ convictions were not Wyatt’s first legal troubles.
The Post explains that Wyatt entered an agreement with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2009. The Post did not elaborate on the reasons for the agreement but did note that it entailed Wyatt relinquishing his federal firearms license.
As ABC reports, Wyatt was previously arrested in 2015 on charges of “theft from an at risk adult.” The victim had consigned “a rare and antique gun collection” with Wyatt at Gunsmoke Guns in 2013, but Wyatt failed to ever pay for or return the firearms after the victim made several attempts to recover them.
Several of the stolen antique firearms were found at Gunsmoke Guns when police and ATF agents conducted a search of the business in March of 2015 as part of the federal investigation into the fraud and tax evasion charges. ATF seized 583 guns and large quantities of ammunition from Gunsmoke Guns during the search.
Wyatt had lost his federal license to sell firearms before he ever even agreed to the Discovery Channel’s offer to create a TV show based on his life and business, the Post reports. Discovery eventually paid Wyatt approximately $500,000 for 26 episodes of the show.
After losing his gun license, Wyatt allegedly kept his store open by conspiring with other gun retailers in the area. Customers would pay for guns at Gunsmoke Guns, but then go through background checks and pick up the guns from the other retailers. At least one of the other gun dealers, Triggers of Castle Rock, Colorado, has since lost its weapons license as well.
Former “American Guns” tv host Rich Wyatt ” convicted of conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and taxes. pic.twitter.com/0TfbZu2iav
— Rick Sallinger (@ricksallinger) March 10, 2017
Richard Wyatt was charged after two undercover ATF agents wore body cameras on multiple visits to Gunsmoke Guns, during which they purchased four guns from Wyatt on three separate occasions, according to court documents reviewed by the Post.
In regards to the tax evasion charges, the jury found Wyatt guilty of failing to report $1.1 million in income to the IRS during several years in which he did not file his taxes. He faces up to 15 years in a federal prison on the 10 charges combined.
Richard Wyatt often appeared in American Guns alongside his wife, Rennee, and his stepchildren, Kurt and Paige Grewcock. None of them are currently charged with any crimes related Richard Wyatt’s convictions.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]