CEO of Pennsylvania Engineering Firm Sentenced for Attempted Illegal Iran Export
Helmet Oertmann, the Chief Executive Officer of Pennsylvania company Hetran Inc., pled guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to illegally export to Iran a machine used to manufacture automobile and aircraft parts by falsely stating on shipping documents that the end user was a Dubai company. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania sentenced Oertmann to 12 months' probation and imposed a $375,000 penalty on Hetran Inc., making Oertmann and the company jointly responsible for payment.
The sentence and penalty are significantly reduced from the statutory maximums of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The mitigation may be due in part to the fact that the machine was determined to have no military applicability.
Co-conspirator of International Arms Dealer Receives Five-Year Sentence
Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia sentenced dual U.S.-Syrian citizen Richard Ammar Chichakli, an associate of convicted arms dealer Victor Bout, to five years in prison. Australian authorities extradited Chichakli to the United States in May 2013. Chichakli was then convicted last December of, among other charges, conspiring with Bout to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by trying to purchase commercial airplanes from U.S. companies for a company controlled by Chichakli and Bout, in contravention of U.S. sanctions law. At the time, both Chichakli and Bout were designated on OFAC's SDN List. Chichakli attempted to conceal his identity in the transactions as well as the involvement of Bout.
Chichakli was also ordered to forfeit the $1.7 million in illegal wire transfers he facilitated to U.S. bank accounts in connection with the attempted airplane purchase transactions.
Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Trying to Smuggle Military Weapons Sensors from the United States to China
In mid-December, following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate, Wentong Cai, a Chinese national residing in the United States on a student visa, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) arising from a scheme to illegally export defense articles to the People’s Republic of China.
Cai conspired with his cousin, Bo Cai, to illegally export sensors manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense and used for line-of-sight stabilization and precision motion control systems on weapons. Because of an arms embargo against China, the United States does not issue licenses for the export of such sensors to China. Cai will serve an 18-month prison term, after which he will be deported.