Congressional candidate and former state senator Dean A. Tran was indicted Friday for allegedly stealing a gun from an elderly constituent in 2019 and misleading investigators about what happened.
The Fitchburg Republican faces six charges related to the incident, according to Attorney General Maura Healey. He will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court at a later date.
Tran, 46, is challenging US Representative Lori Trahan, a two-term Democrat, for the House seat representing the 3rd Congressional District.
Asked for comment on the charges, Tran directed a reporter to a spokesman who released a statement insisting that Tran was innocent and accusing Healey, the Democratic frontrunner in the governor’s race, of “partisan corruption.”
“Her false and pathetic allegations are untrue and categorically false,” Tran said in the statement. “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 went on say that Trahan “is scared and called in her key political allies across the commonwealth to dig deep and abuse their influence to try and smear my name, reputation, and the incredible accomplishments I have achieved for our communities.”
According to Healey’s office, Tran used his position as an elected official to intimidate an elderly constituent into giving him at least eight of her late husband’s guns. He allegedly made her sign a contract and paid her $1,500 in cash.
When he was asked to return the guns, he did, Healey’s office said. But he returned in the early morning and allegedly broke into the home. He then demanded keys to the late husband’s gun safe and stole a Colt .45 handgun while the woman hid in her bedroom, Healey’s office said. The gun was returned at a later date.
Tran gave police multiple conflicting stories and reasons for taking the guns and denied paying for them, according to Healey’s office. He allegedly “disparaged the constituent’s mental capacity” before demanding an apology from her.
A Worcester grand jury indicted Tran on charges of filing an application for a license to carry containing false information, larceny of a firearm, larceny over $250 from a person who is elderly or disabled, misleading a police investigation, obtaining a signature by false pretenses with intent to defraud, and stealing by confining or putting in fear.
The indictment also alleges that Tran made false statements on a renewal application for a license to carry a gun in May 2019.
Tran left the Legislature after a tumultuous tenure. In March 2020 he was stripped of his leadership post within the Senate GOP caucus and was barred from interacting with his staff after the Senate Ethics Committee accused him of assigning his staff campaign tasks and asking them to help with fund-raising work.