BURLINGTON, Vermont — A former Vermont police officer has pleaded not guilty to a series of federal gun and tax charges.
Phil Ciotti, 56, entered the pleas to six charges Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington. Ciotti's court appearance came a week after he was indicted on federal gun and tax charges and about 21 months after federal agents raided his St. Johnsbury home and seized 550 firearms.
Among the charges filed against Ciotti, a licensed federal firearms dealer, were that he didn't pay enough taxes and that he made improper gun sales, The Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/17zjy3q) reports.
One count accused him of selling three firearms Feb. 8, 2009, without keeping proper records, including the name, age or address of the buyer. He's also accused of not conducting a national instant criminal background check on April 7, 2010, before transferring two firearms to a person who was not a licensed dealer.
A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent whose home was searched at the same time as Ciotti, Richard Bernholz, 58, of Franklin, agreed to plead guilty to filing a false tax return and aiding and abetting in the failure to keep adequate records by a federal firearms licensee.
Ciotti, a former St. Johnsbury police officer and Caledonia County deputy sheriff, has worked for about 12 years as an investigator with the Vermont Medical Practice Board.
He was placed on administrative leave on Monday.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com