HAMMOND | Federal authorities claim the former antique gun specialist at the Hammond Cabela's store defrauded the outdoor retailer by personally profiting from dozens of crooked gun buys on behalf of the Hammond store's collection of rare, historic and pricey guns.
Peter G. Tryand, 54, of Valparaiso, is charged in Hammond federal court with buying dozens of the same expensive guns twice with checks from Cabela's, falsifying the paperwork and reaping the profits of the double buys. Three other men are charged as co-conspirators, and prosecutors claim the scam netted $1.1 million.
Tryand and the accused collaborators are charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering. Tryand also is charged with four counts of wire fraud in the indictment, which was unsealed late in June. Tryand, who no longer works for Cabela's, was arrested last month in Missouri and released with orders to appear in Hammond federal court.
Tryand's lawyer could not be reached for comment Monday.
Federal prosecutors say Cabela's was not the only victim of an alleged multistate scheme running from December 2006 to May 2008. The indictment claims Tryand first ventured into fraudulent gun buying while he managed the fine gun room at the Bass Pro Shops store in Las Vegas.
Tryand was hired to work in the Hammond Cabela's fun library when the store opened in October 2007. Prosecutors claim Tryand first defrauded Cabela's in April 2008, then ran variations on the same scheme for a year.
Tryand would buy a collection of guns and then take one or more guns before the collection came to Cabela's, the indictment claims. Tryand then would use Cabela's checks to buy the skimmed guns a second time from a codefendant, meaning Cabela's paid twice for several of the same guns while Tryand and his alleged co-conspirators took the profits, according to the indictment.
In one case, Tryand bought a Colt Lightning .22-caliber rifle with a personal check, then sold the gun to Cabela's for a profit in the name of another man, prosecutors claim. The indictment claims that in another case, Tryand bought an 18-gun collection for $40,300 when he had previously bought all 18 of those guns with a Cabela's check.
The indictment claims the co-conspirators would take the checks from Cabela's, then write checks to Tryand. About $94,000 was seized from a Valparaiso home connected to the case in May 2008, prosecutors say.
Also charged in the indictment were Ernest Lehman, 70, of South Bend; Daniel Gallagher, 51, of Las Vegas; and Arthur T. Nowak, 60, of Odessa, Fla.
Cabela's spokesman John Castillo declined comment on the case.