PORTLAND – A 44-year-old former Bridgton man was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison on a firearms conviction Tuesday.

William F. Bater, now of Bridgewater, Mass., was found guilty by a federal jury in May of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Bater was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 18, 2007, according to a release issued by U.S. Attorney Paula D. Silsby.

The indictment alleged that Bater possessed a Remington Model 742, .308-caliber rifle after having been convicted of five felony offenses, including breaking and entering in the daytime in Massachusetts in 1982 and 1989, burglary of a dwelling in Florida in 1983, burglary in Utah in 1984, and concealing a stolen firearm in Massachusetts in 1993.

According to court records, Bater acquired the Remington rifle by having another individual purchase it for him in what is commonly called a, “straw purchase,” Silsby stated.

Because of his multiple prior felony convictions Bater was subject to sentencing as an armed career criminal. After his sentence is served, he will be placed on supervised release for five years.

Silsby praised the investigation conducted by the Maine State Police, the Bridgton Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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