Burkett made a name for himself in the shooting world in the 1990s and 2000s, winning “more than 150 state, national, and world titles,” according to a September 2010 article in HandgunsMag.com. He’s also known for his “Practical Shooting” series of DVDs, and has taught thousands of civilian, military, and police students as an instructor in the United States and abroad.
The “scheme” started in 2012. Burkett would promise customers in person and via advertisements that he would ship them a custom in 90 days of their order and payment. He asked for the full amount upfront.
Burkett “would misappropriate customer payments for his personal benefit without attempting to fulfill the customer’s order,” the indictment states. He also allegedly misused money from loans and investors.
The single count of fraud stems from Burkett and his company’s appearance in a vendor’s booth at the 2012 NRA convention in St. Louis.
At the April convention, a customer identified in the indictment only as “P.S.” of “Company A” met Burkett and decided a few months later to order some of his firearms. The St. Louis customer ordered five 1911 handguns and sent Predator Tactical a deposit check for $21,653 on July 11, 2012, records state. Two days later, P.S. sent another $11,488 for the balance.
Burkett met P.S. the following week in St. Louis, where they agreed that P.S.’s company would send Predator Tactical $50,000. The customer wired the money a week later and sent a list of the firearms he wanted made. Burkett agreed to deliver one handgun per month to P.S. starting February 28, 2013.
However, Burkett has not delivered any of the firearms he promised to P.S.,” records state.
Burkett requested a federal public defender as he does not have the funds to afford a private attorney. He sounds positive and glosses over the charges and thinks things will work out.