A University of Minnesota professor who went on a gun-buying binge is accused of falsifying purchase documents at various stores by claiming that he had no felony cases pending against him.
Massoud Amin, 56, of Minneapolis, has been charged by summons in Hennepin County District Court with seven gross-misdemeanor counts of being an accused felon in possession of a firearm. Amin continues his work at the university ahead of a Sept. 13 court date.
Amin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the U’s Technological Leadership Institute, bought 14 pistols from stores throughout the metro area in less than three weeks, from June 22 to July 9, according to the criminal complaint.
The purchases were made even though he knew he had been charged in June with aggravated forgery in connection with an allegation that he understated the value of a retirement portfolio by more than $145,000 in documents sent to his ex-wife’s divorce attorney, the complaint said.
In an e-mail Thursday to the Star Tribune, Amin said the accusations in both cases are false. He declined to elaborate but pledged that “we’ll prove my innocence in court. ... Truth will prevail.”
The professor explained that his interest in guns is rooted in having done martial arts since he was 8 years old, “and this is an extension of the same focus and breathing. Also, as an engineer, I appreciate the materials used, craftsmanship, history and designs.”
As for acquiring so many firearms in such a short time span, he pointed to various reasons: “Gander Mountain had a huge out-of-business sale, summer sales [and] my birthday gifts.”
Amin’s attorney, Christopher Madel, said his client goes to a gun range “and shoots handguns as a hobby, as do I.”
University spokesman Evan Lapiska said that Amin’s employment at the school is unchanged because “this is a personal matter outside of his role at the university, and it will be pursued through legal channels. There have been no [university] policies violated, and he remains an active member of the faculty.”
According to a search warrant affidavit filed in court Wednesday, a police officer seized the pistols, weapons cases and ammunition in locations throughout Amin’s residence in the Calhoun Beach Club. Also seized was purchase paperwork.
The search warrant affidavit alleges that for every transaction, Amin “indicated a negative answer” on the federal weapons purchase form to the question: “Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year?”
Amin has been with the university since March 2003 and is an expert in smart grids and infrastructure security. He has professional and consulting experience with McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, NASA, Rockwell International and various federal agencies, including the departments of Defense and Energy.