Former state senator and current Congressional candidate Dean Tran was indicted Friday on charges that he stole a Colt .45 gun from an elderly constituent and then misled the investigation into the incident, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Friday.
Healey's office alleged that the 46-year-old Fitchburg Republican, who served in the Massachusetts Senate from late 2017 until early 2021, "used his position of trust as a public official to intimidate the constituent into parting with her late husband's firearms, making her sign a pre-prepared contract and giving her $1,500 in cash for at least eight guns" in June 2019.
Tran returned the guns the next day when asked, but then came back, "forced his way into the constituent's home while she was alone, demanded the keys to her husband's gun safe, and stole a Colt .45 while the constituent hid in her bedroom," Healey's office alleged. That gun was later returned.
The announcement could inflame the already-tense relations between the state Republican Party and Healey, who is poised to the be the Democratic nominee for governor this year. Tran is running for Congress against Democrat Lori Trahan in the Third District.
CommonWealth Magazine first reported on the allegation in 2020 and said that Tran had previously told the outlet, "The allegation is false, and the truth will come out." Tran's Congressional campaign did not immediately provide a response.
A Worcester grand jury indicted Tran on Friday on the charges of larceny of a firearm, larceny over $250 from 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, the AG's office said.
Tran will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court at a later date.
Healey's office alleged that Tran "gave multiple conflicting stories and reasons for taking the guns away, including 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."
Tran was sanctioned by the Senate by 2020 after the Senate Ethics Committee found his office staff had been performing campaign work with public resources during business hours, charges he denied. He was removed from his position as assistant minority whip and banned from interacting with his staff except through official emails.
Tran narrowly lost his 2020 reelection bid to Sen. John Cronin, a Democrat.