The Discovery Channel has had poor luck in recent years picking stars for its gun-related reality television shows.
Earlier this month a judge ruled that “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden will be facing multiple sexual assault allegations in his upcoming trial.
Now the Denver Post is reporting that Richard Wyatt, the star of a different Discovery Channel show called “American Guns,” has been convicted of 10 felony counts, including tax evasion and selling firearms without a license.
Wyatt could face up to 15 years in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of failing to report $1.1 million in income to the IRS and dealing firearms under a straw license through another gun store.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives forced Wyatt to relinquish his Federal Firearms License in 2009 after he violated “serious licensing rules,” according to the Post.
But Wyatt continued to sell guns through another local gun shop called Triggers. Customers would choose their firearm at Wyatt’s store and travel to Triggers to complete a criminal background check and to pick up their guns.
When Triggers lost its FFL, Wyatt set up the same scheme through other local gun stores.
Despite Wyatt’s FFL status, he agreed in 2011 to a $500,000 contract with the Discovery Channel to star in “American Guns,” a show that would document the goings-on at Gunsmoke, Wyatt’s store. It isn’t clear whether the television network knew Wyatt was not legally permitted to sell firearms.
In either case, the show billed Gunsmoke as one of the finest gun shops in the world.
ATF agents busted Wyatt after purchasing four guns from Gunsmoke on three occasions.
Wyatt’s tax situation wasn’t much better. The Post reports that Wyatt failed to pay taxes in 2009 when he made $290,000; in 2010 when he made $123,000; and in 2012 when he made $689,000, according to a court records.
Wyatt’s attorney, Mark Johnson, claimed that while his client was a poor bookkeeper, he never had any criminal intent. “His books were a disaster. He was a horrible bookkeeper,” Johnson said.
But, according to the attorney, when Wyatt signed the contract with the Discovery Channel, he immediately hired an accountant to handle his finances.
As to the firearms charges, Johnson pointed out that Wyatt always made sure his customers completed background checks.
“The only people who bought guns were entitled to buy a weapon,” Johnson said.
Wyatt’s sentencing will take place at a later date.