The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Scott Phillips, 36, of Mechanicville, New York, was arraigned today after having been indicted by the grand jury for unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Phillips pleaded not guilty at today’s hearing. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle ordered Phillips detained pending further proceedings.
According to court records, Phillips possessed a loaded pistol in Winooski, Vermont, on July 16, 2021. Officers encountered Phillips that day when responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle. Phillips attempted to drive away when a police officer approached him, dragging the officer a short distance. A search of Phillips’ car yielded a pistol, ammunition, and suspected controlled substances. Phillips is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law due to his criminal record.
If convicted of the charge alleged in the federal indictment, Phillips faces a maximum sentence of ten years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The Acting United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge in the indictment is merely an accusation, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Spencer Willig. Federal Public Defender Michael L. Desautels and Assistant Federal Public Defender Sara M. Puls represent the defendant.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the following Project Guardian and other law enforcement partners: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Winooski Police Department. For more information about Project Guardian, please see http://www.justice.gov/projectguardian/
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Vermont