Military veteran Michael S. Frank will remain out of jail and under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for the next six months after a federal judge continued his sentencing hearing on charges of money laundering and international arms dealing.
Frank, 25, of Wheeling pleaded guilty in January in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to export firearms and money laundering. He admitted to selling 24 firearms to buyers in Israel and Canada over several months last year.
He was to be sentenced Thursday, but Judge John Preston Bailey continued the hearing for six months. Bailey ordered that Frank spend the first 30 days on monitored home confinement. He will be on supervised probation throughout the six months.
U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II said the prosecution will argue for a prison sentence of at least four years nine months. Frank's attorney, Jay McCamic, is expected to argue for alternative sentencing.
Court documents state Frank purchased more than 20 handguns in the local area between March 2012 and his July 16 arrest. Prosecutors said he sent many of those guns overseas.
The investigation began in May, when Interpol contacted postal officials about a package intercepted in Jerusalem that contained part of a pistol with the serial number obliterated and ammunition. That parcel had a fictitious return address at a Wheeling Island home. Investigators later discovered the gun was purchased in Martins Ferry using Frank's credit card.
Further investigation revealed Frank sent at least 11 other packages bearing fake return addresses overseas. Officials on July 5 intercepted a package shipped to Frank from Montreal that contained $2,000 in cash, and they recorded the serial numbers on the bills before allowing the parcel to be delivered. Those bills matched $1,100 in cash Frank allegedly used to purchase guns in Wheeling the following day.