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Salem Police Captain Arrested for Tax Fraud Related to the Sale of Firearms

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A Salem police captain was arrested Thursday for tax fraud related to profits from the sale of firearms.

Michael Wagner, of Pelham, is accused of purchasing 36 assault rifles from Sig Sauer Academy in Epping using a law enforcement discount, and reselling them for a profit of more than $33,000.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, Warner “purposely omitted” the profits from his 2013 tax return. 

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, alleges Wagner also directed a subordinate Salem PD officer to purchase an assault rifle on his behalf after Sig Sauer revoked his 25 percent law enforcement discount.

Wagner allegedly purchased the assault rifles over a one-month period between December 2012 and January 2013 “following an event on December 14, 2012 that led to an increased demand for assault rifles,” the indictment reads, referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Wagner also allegedly overstated his deductions in his 2013 tax return by falsely claiming more than $10,000 in reimbursed expenses for police equipment, ammunition and firearms.

Wagner was due to make his first court appearance in federal court in Boston via video conference earlier Thursday.

At the time of the alleged crime, Wagner was a “patrol shift supervisor, firearms instructor, and the armorer for the Salem PD responsible for acquiring and maintaining the Salem PD’s supply of police firearms, ammunition and related equipment,” according to the indictment.

He has been an employee of the Salem Police Department since 2000. Read the indictment below:

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