According to the (ancient) statute, a violation of the NFA can result in a felony conviction punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. However, a more recent amendment allows fines of up to $250,000 for an individual and up to $500,000 for an entity, such as a trust or corporation.
Federal sentencing guidelines ordinarily require prison time, even for a first offense with no prior criminal record.
The statute of limitations on NFA violations is 3 years, but it doesn’t begin to run on possession offenses until the possession stops. As long as you possess the illegal item, you can be prosecuted.
Any NFA firearm that was ever transferred or registered in violation of the NFA is subject to civil forfeiture (confiscation and destruction). So, if you inherited an unregistered SBR or machine gun from your dad, it’s contraband and can’t be registered or legally transferred to your children. It can’t be used, and will eventually have to be confiscated and destroyed.
The forfeiture proceeding is separate from any criminal proceeding, and an acquittal on the criminal proceeding won’t preclude forfeiture.
Criminal penalties for violations of the GCA include both misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanor convictions carry fines of up to $100,000 for individuals and up to $200,000 for entities. Felony fines can be up to $250,000 for an individual and up to $500,000 for an entity. Violations of the GCA also can result in forfeiture of the weapon.
And don’t forget how they finally got Al Capone! Under the general tax evasion statute, a willful attempt to evade the $200 transfer tax is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for an individual and up to a $500,000 fine for an entity. This is IN ADDITION to any other penalties provided by law.
Read more about the penalties for violating the NFA or GCA here and about the penalties for tax fraud here.
Don’t play stupid games and you won’t win stupid prizes!