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Former state Sen. Dean Tran indicted on firearm theft charges

Allegedly intimidated constituent

The City of Fitchburg held a Veterans Day ceremony at the Fitchburg Senior Center on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Addresses the crowd at the program is State Senator Dean Tran. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE
The City of Fitchburg held a Veterans Day ceremony at the Fitchburg Senior Center on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Addresses the crowd at the program is State Senator Dean Tran. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE

BOSTON — Former state Sen. Dean Tran, a Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate, was indicted Friday in connection with the alleged theft of a firearm from an elderly constituent and efforts to mislead investigators.

According to Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office, Tran, 46, of Fitchburg, was indicted by a Worcester grand jury on one count each of larceny of a firearm, larceny over $250 from a person over 60 or disabled, filing an application for a license to carry containing false information, obtaining a signature by false pretenses with intent to defraud, misleading a police investigation and stealing by confining or putting in fear.

Tran issued a statement through his campaign Friday night calling the indictment “nothing short of an act of political corruption” and calling the allegations against him “untrue and categorically false.”

“If this pitiful attempt by the Democrat political machine is the best attempt they have as a kill shot to our campaign, then it reaffirms what we already know, that we are going to WIN this race in November,” Tran said in the statement.

According to Healey’s office, the alleged incident occurred in June 2019. While visiting an elderly constituent, Tran allegedly used his position as a state senator to intimidate the constituent into parting with her dead husband’s firearms and made her sign a preprepared contract, the AG’s office said. Tran paid the constituent $1,500 for at least eight guns, it was reported.

Tran returned upon request the next day, but did so early in the morning, allegedly forcing his way into the constituent’s home. The constituent was alone and Tran demanded the key’s to her late husband’s gun safe, allegedly stealing a Colt .45 while the constituent hid in her bedroom, according to prosecutor records.

The gun was returned to the constituent at a later date, according to Healey’s office.

When interviewed by police about the incident, Tran allegedly gave multiple conflicting stories and reasons for taking the guns away. According to Healey’s office, that included 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.

Healey’s office also alleges that Tran made false statements on his May 2019 license-to-carry renewal application.

Before launching his campaign for Congress against Westford Democrat U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan earlier in February, Tran served in the Massachusetts State Senate from 2017 to 2021, narrowly losing his re-election bid to Lunenburg Democrat John Cronin.

As a senator, Tran found himself embroiled in controversy during his second term.

In 2020, the Senate Ethics Committee concluded that Tran had assigned taxpayer-funded office staff to work on his campaign and asked them to help with his fundraising efforts. According to the committee, staffers were also told to add constituents who called the office for help to the campaign fundraiser list.

As a result of the report, Tran was stripped of his role as Senate assistant minority whip. He was also barred from communicating with staffers, unless through email, after Senate colleagues accused him of breaking Senate rules and state law.

Tran was also a member of the Fitchburg City Council from 2005 to 2017 and was the first person of color elected to the body.

Assistant Attorney General Gretchen Brodigan of the AG’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division and Victim Witness Advocate Megan Murphy are prosecuting the case. The case was investigated by Financial Investigator Gillian Daly of the AG’s Financial Investigations Division, State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and the AG’s Digital Forensics Laboratory, with assistance from the Fitchburg Police Department.

Healey’s office said Tran will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court at a later date.

Lowell Sun Reporter Shane Rhodes contributed to this report.