NYC woman facing 25 years in prison for cache of fake guns

A New York City woman is facing decades behind bars over illegal weapons charges after police stormed her home and found at least 22 firearms, 21 of which were fake.

Various reports noted that a squad of NYPD officers executed a search warrant at the home of Elizaveta Zlatkis in 2019 and found the weapons, though upon further examination after they were seized, officers discovered the vast majority of them were phony.


An NYPD analysis found that all of the weapons in Zlatkis’ home were either fake or inoperable. She has also said that she lends the fake guns to producers and rappers for use in music videos or other artistic productions.

The Forest Hills Post reported Dec. 30, 2019, that the 31-year-old Zlatkis was charged with multiple counts of firearms possession when she was arrested. They include four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, eight counts of violating local laws, and one count of acting in a manner injurious to a child; her two children were in the home with her at the time of the arrest.

Officers made the arrest after acting on a tip.

Eventually, the NYPD determined that the ‘guns’ were a combo of airsoft rifles, starter pistols (such as those used at field and track events), and toy replicas, all of which were incapable of firing any live ammunition.

Just one of the alleged weapons was real, according to the Queens Daily Eagle, but it too, was inoperable: The trigger, handgrip, and other internal parts were missing.

“But a year after her…arrest, Zlatkis is still facing the first-degree weapons charge, which is based on possession of ten or more firearms,” the outlet added. “Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has declined to drop the case against Zlatkis, who as refused to take a plea deal.”

She told the outlet that news of her arrest and the circumstances for it — weapons charges — have made her life difficult. She even turned down a job offer, she said, because she found out the company performed a background check and she feared she would be mislabeled.

“I look completely crazy,” she told the outlet, noting that many of her high school friends have shared stories about her arrest on their social media pages. “It’s humiliating.”

Crucial, a rapper who lives in nearby Rosedale, told the Eagle, “We do videos with them as props. I didn’t know you could actually get in trouble with all that. That’s wild. They’re fake.”

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Joe Murray, Zlatkis’ attorney and a Queens DA candidate in 2019, blasted the charges.

“Not a single gun was real. I want to clear her name. She’s not a gangster,” he said.

According to an analysis by Bearing Arms, however, legally Zlatkis may be a “gun owner since a firearm is defined federally to include a finished frame or receiver for a gun, even if it doesn’t have a trigger attached to it.”

“As far as prosecutors are concerned, it doesn’t make any difference that none of the guns were actually capable of firing live ammunition. If Zlatkis possessed at least ten starter pistols or inoperable guns, that’s enough to charge her with a crime punishable by up to 25 years in prison,” the analysis continued.

That said, “what gives this case an extra dose of lunacy,” the site continued, “is the fact that, while Zlatkis is looking at decades behind bars for possessing non-functional firearms, those arrested in New York City for actually shooting someone are quickly returning to the streets.”

Jon Dougherty

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