SAN ANTONIO (CBSDFW.COM) — A court in the Western District of Texas has sentenced a man pf Iranian descent to more than five years in prison for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Mehrdad Ansari, a resident of the United Arab Emirates and Germany, was sentenced to 63 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a scheme to obtain military-sensitive parts for Iran.
“This case reaffirms HSI’s resolve and commitment in securing the homeland by targeting foreign actors attempting to procure sensitive technology by exploiting the U.S. export laws,” said HSI San Antonio acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee.
In coordination with his co-conspirators, Ansari obtained and attempted to obtain parts that had dual military and civilian capability and could be used in such systems as nuclear weapons, missile guidance and development, secure tactical radio communications, offensive electronic warfare, military electronic countermeasures (radio jamming), and radar warning and surveillance systems.
On May 7, a San Antonio federal jury convicted Ansari on one count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and two counts of aiding and abetting the making of false statements.
Evidence presented during trial revealed that the 40-year-old attempted to transship testing equipment obtained from the U.S. by co-defendants, Taiwanese citizen Susan Yip, and Iranian citizen Mehrdad Foomanie, using Ansari’s companies, Gulf Gate Sea Cargo L.L.C., and Global Merchant L.L.C., based in Dubai.
From Oct. 9, 2007, to June 15, 2011, Yip and Foomanie obtained or attempted to obtain from companies worldwide more than 105,000 parts valued at approximately $2,630,800, involving more than 1,250 transactions. The defendant’s main role was to get a particular set of parts from a Central Texas company that was key for the Iranian government’s testing of all other parts.
“The Iranian Trade Embargo serves an important purpose in the protection of the United States and our allies,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff for the Western District of Texas.
Iranian Transaction Regulations prohibit, among other things, the exportation to Iran or the Government of Iran, of any goods, technology or services from the U.S. or by a U.S. person.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Commerce Department/Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement, and the FBI.
In October 2012, Yip was sentenced to two years in federal prison. Mehrdad Foomanie remains a fugitive.