BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 18- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the conviction of a 51-year-old teacher on charges of selling illegal firearms, including assault rifles to undercover detectives and untaxed cigarettes to store owners during a year-long sting operation.
Theophilis Burroughs pled guilty to one count of criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree, one count of money laundering in the first degree, one count of criminal tax fraud in the first degree, one count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the third degree, one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree, and one count of Tax Law 1814(c) (2) Evasion of the NYS Cigarette Tax.
Burroughs, (aka Mike) of Newark, New Jersey, pled guilty before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett who set sentencing for Monday, October 28, 2013 in Part 60. The judge has indicated that Burroughs will be sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years of post-release supervision. Justice Barrett also signed a $9,000,000 judgment against Burroughs representing taxes and penalties owed to New York State. Burroughs has been fired from his job as a music teacher at Stuyvesant High School and has surrendered his license to teach in New York State.
The conviction was the result of a joint investigation, beginning in July 2009, by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. During the course of the investigation Burroughs arranged the sale of 12 firearms and ammunition to undercover detectives. The transactions were negotiated in the Bronx with the undercover detectives taking physical possession of all but one of the firearms at a storage facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The weapons were sold between October 20, 2009 and May 19, 2010. Burroughs also conspired to make additional sales after the completion of the May transaction and also sold the narcotic pain killer, Oxycodone, to undercover detectives during the course of the investigation.
The nerve center of the sting operation was a Bronx warehouse at 2605 Halperin Avenue, which was leased by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and equipped with audio and visual surveillance technology. Between August 11, 2009 and July 20, 2010 Burroughs bought and re-sold more than 36,000 cartons of cigarettes and thereby evaded more than one $1.75 million in New York State Taxes. The cigarettes that were sold either had no tax stamp or a tax stamp that was purported to be counterfeit. It was during the repeated transactions involving what Burroughs believed to be untaxed cigarettes that he offered to broker the sale of guns and ammunition to the undercover detectives.