SAN JOSE, Calif. - Three individuals have been recently indicted on charges of illegally exporting millions of dollars worth of computer-related equipment from the United States to Iran via the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jeng “Jay” Shih, a U.S. citizen, and his Queens, N.Y.-based company, Sunrise Technologies and Trading Co., were indicted in the District of Columbia on 27 counts relating to the illegal export of computer-related equipment to Iran without first having obtained the required license from the Department of Treasury, according to the DOJ.
Shih was arrested on a criminal complaint in New York on April 6, 2011, and had his initial appearance in court in New York on April 7, 2011. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each of the counts and five years for each false statement count, according to the DOJ.
Massoud Habibion, aka “Matt Habibion” and “Matt Habi,” and Mohsen Motamedian, aka “Max Motamedian” and “Max Ehsan,” both U.S. citizens, and their Costa Mesa, Calif., company, Online Micro LLC, were indicted in the District of Columbia on 32 counts relating to the illegal export of computer-related equipment to Iran without the required license from the Department of Treasury.
Habibion and Motamedian were arrested on a criminal complaint in California on April 7, 2011, and had their initial appearance in court in the Central District of California on April 7, 2011. If convicted, both defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $1 million fine for each of the IEEPA counts, and five years for each false statement and 20 years for each obstruction of justice count, according to the DOJ.
In April 2010, ICE-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents seized hundreds of laptop computers that originated from Sunrise and were destined for Dubai, UAE. Communications related to these shipments indicated that the purchasers were located in Iran, according to the affidavit.
''The affidavit alleges that agents subsequently identified a company in Dubai that was purchasing millions of dollars of computers from U.S. companies for export to Iran, through Dubai. ICE-HSI agents arrested one of the company’s agents, who pleaded guilty in December 2010 and began cooperating with the government,'' according to the DOJ.
''In interviews with agents, this individual indicated that he and his company in Dubai had purchased millions worth of laptops from Shih in recent years for shipment to Iran, averaging $700,000 worth of computers each month. The affidavit alleges that agents also obtained documents indicating that more than 1,000 computers had been shipped by Shih’s company to Dubai and later to Iran, between April 9, 2010, and May 28, 2010, alone,'' according to the DOJ.
''The affidavit filed in support of the complaint against Habibion and Motamedian alleges that a company in Dubai, purchased millions of dollars worth of laptop computers from Online Micro and that these computers were subsequently shipped to Iran. According to the affidavit, the agent for the Dubai company, who was arrested, pleaded guilty and began cooperating with the government, told federal agents that Habibion and Motamedian sold roughly $300,000 worth of computers to the Dubai company each month and that Habibion and Motamedian fully understood that the computers were destined for Iran,'' according to the agency.