Former police captain acquitted of tax fraud, sold firearms

From the Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A former police captain in New Hampshire has been acquitted by a jury of filing a false income tax return deriving from profits earned from selling firearms.

Michael Wagner, who was with the Salem Police Department, was indicted in 2020, accused of buying 36 assault rifles using his police discount from Sig Sauer Academy in Epping in 2012 and 2013 and reselling them at a profit that was omitted from his tax return.

The sales took place shortly after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut.

Prosecutors said Wagner evaded $5,000 in taxes.

He was found not guilty Friday following his trial in U.S. District Court in Concord.

Wagner’s lawyers said the verdict validated the defense’s central theme that the Internal Revenue Service investigation was disorderly and unfairly targeted Wagner because he was a police officer.

“The tax fraud charges were not supported by the evidence, and we are grateful for the jury’s decision,” his lawyer, Mark Lytle, said in a statement.

Wagner and other Salem officers were named in letters from the attorney general’s office in 2019 saying they were under investigation following a department audit. He was not charged with any other offenses.