BOSTON (AP) — A former Massachusetts state senator and Republican candidate for Congress has been charged after allegedly stealing a gun from an elderly constituent and misleading investigators about what happened, Attorney General Maura Healey said Friday.
Investigators said Dean Tran, 46, of Fitchburg, used his position as a public official to intimidate the constituent into parting with her late husband’s firearms, making her sign a pre-prepared contract and giving her $1,500 in cash for at least eight guns while visiting her in June 2019.
When asked to return them the next day, Tran complied. But a day after he gave the guns back, he returned to the woman's home, forced his way in and demanded a key to the gun safe, according to investigators.
He then stole a Colt .45 while the constituent hid in her bedroom, investigators said. That gun was also later returned to the woman.
Tran issued a statement Friday evening, calling the allegations “untrue and categorically false.” His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Investigators say Tran allegedly gave conflicting stories and reasons for taking the guns when interviewed by police, including denying any type of firearm sale, later producing a sales contract for the weapons, and disparaging the constituent’s mental capacity before demanding a written apology from her.
Investigators also allege Tran made false statements on his May 2019 license-to-carry renewal application.
Tran is challenging two-term Democratic US Rep. Lori Trahan for the congressional seat representing the state's 3rd Congressional District.
Tran was indicted Friday by a Worcester Grand Jury on the charges including larceny of a firearm, filing an application for a license to carry containing false information, obtaining a signature by false pretenses with intent to defraud, and misleading a police investigation.
Tran will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court at a later date.
The Massachusetts Senate barred Tran in 2020 from interacting with his staff except through official emails in the wake of an ethics investigation that found he had his staff conduct campaign work during regular Senate business hours.