Archive for the ‘Violations & Fines’ Category

Pay the Government on Time…or Pay Even Sooner

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

In September 2015, Streit USA Armoring, LLC entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) that imposed a civil penalty of $1.6 million ($850 million in installment payments and $750,000 suspended). The company violated the regulations after it reexported armored vehicles to Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Full article available at http://learnexportcompliance.bluekeyblogs.com/2015/10/01/bis-nails-mid-and-high-level-company-officials-but-not-export-administrator-in-addition-to-company/.

During settlement negotiations Streit USA specifically sought for the ability to pay the $850,000 in installment payment of $170,000. Under this plan, the company was required to make all payments on time; it was found that their November 2016 payment was not made in a timely fashion so the Final Order has been amended to move the due date forward for the final two remaining payments. Streit USA will now owe its final payment son May 2017 and September 2017 compared to the original June 2017 and January 2018.

Amended Order: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2015/1111-e2498/file

Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Export “Bananas”

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

For the past 6 years, 53 year old Fuyi Sun has attempted to purchase carbon fiber for the Chinese military (according to court records). A few years ago Sun contacted what he thought was a US company that distributed carbon fiber, but was, in fact, an undercover entity created by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and staffed by undercover agents. The company, “UC Company,” was asked by Sun to supply M60 Carbon Fiber which is a high-grade carbon fiber that is used in sophisticated aerospace and defense applications, specifically for drones and other government defense applications. M60 Carbon Fiber requires a license for export to China for nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism reasons.

During the course of the relationship between UC Company and Sun, he often suggested various security measures they should take to make sure they would both remain protected from the “U.S. Intelligence.” He instructed the undercover agents to use the word “banana” instead of “carbon fiber” in all communications…he inquired about purchasing 450 kilograms of banana in one email. He also instructed agents to remove identifying barcodes for the carbon fiber, prior to transshipment,  and instructed them to identify it as “acrylic fiber” in customs documentation.

On April 11, 2016, Sun traveled from China to New York to purchase the M60 Carbon Fiber from UC Company. On April 11th and 12th Sun met with undercover agents and suggested to them that the Chinese military was the ultimate end-user for the carbon fiber, he also explained that he personally worked in the Chinese missile program. He further asserted that he had a close relationship with the Chinese military, and would be supplying the M60 Carbon Fiber to the Chinese military or to institutions closely associated with it. He agreed to purchase two cases of the carbon fiber on the 12th from UC Company and provided them with $23,000 in cash for the carbon fiber and then provided an additional $2,000 as compensation for the risk that he believed they were taking to illegally export the carbon fiber to China without a license. Sun was arrested the next day.

Sun pled guilty to attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence in this case will be prescribed by Congress. Sun will be sentenced on July 26, 2017.

Details: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chinese-national-pleads-guilty-attempting-illegally-export-high-grade-carbon-fiber-china

Company Fined $162K for Antiboycott Violations

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

The Office of Antiboycott Compliance, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has charged Pelco Inc. (Pelco) with 66 violations. Between May 2011 and January 2016 it was found that on 32 occasions Pelco was engaged in transactions involving the sale/transfer of goods and services from the US to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, activities in the interstate or foreign commerce of the US (Section 760.1(d)). In connection with these transactions, Pelco, with intent to comply with, further supported an unsanctioned foreign boycott by agreeing to refuse to do business with another person (prohibited by Section 760.2(a)).

In addition to those 32 charges, Pelco was charged with 34 violations of “Failing to Report the Receipt of a Request to Engage in a Restrictive Trade Practice or Foreign Boycott Against a Country Friendly to the US” (Section 760.5). This is not surprising, a company who agrees to an illegal boycott is not likely to report said boycott.

Pelco will pay $162K to settle the violations and will not be debarred as long as the settlement amount it paid.

Charging Letter: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/antiboycott/alleged-antiboycott-violations-2015/1100-a749/file

Florida Company Fined $27 Million for 150 Intentional EAR Violations

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Access USA Shipping, LLC (Access) of Sarasota, Florida was charged with 150 violations beginning in April 2011 and spanning to February 2013. The company went out of its way to conceal the fact that foreign customers were purchasing products through them without their US merchants knowing who the end users of their items were. Access mis-described, undervalued, and destroyed and/or altered export control documents to conceal the illegal exports. They also made sure that their foreign customers had a direct employee to order through to avoid any export scrutiny. They went as far as allowing foreign customers to send “wish lists” to Access employees who would then purchase the products from their US merchants with US credit cards and PayPal accounts in the name of Eric Baird, Access’s founder and then-owner and CEO or cards opened in the name of the employee making the order. The foreign customer would then reimburse Access or the employee; there were even situations when the shipments were delivered to the homes of Access employees to ensure that the US merchants would not become suspicious of the order and the end user.

Access also exported (or attempted to) items classified as ECCN 0A987 which are controlled for Crime Control reasons to Argentina, Austria, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Libya, South Africa, and Sweden without a BIS export license. It was also found that the company exported (or attempted to) items classified as ECCN 5A990 and controlled for anti-terrorism reasons as well as EAR99 items to Transsphere Oy, a company on the Entity List.

The company is ordered to pay $10 million right away and the other $17 million will be suspended for two years and waived if the company does not commit any violations during the two year probationary period.

Charging Letter: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2015/1102-e2490/file

Company Fined $500K for 56 ITSR Violations by OFAC

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

United Medical Instruments, Inc. (UMI) agreed to a settlement of $515,400 with the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) based on 56 alleged violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 560). Between 2007 and 2009 it was found that UMI sold medical imaging equipment with knowledge that the goods were going to be reexported from the United Arab Emirates to Iran. The total value of the goods associated with the transactions was approximately $2,493,597.

OFAC considered the following to be mitigating factors:

  1. The alleged violations occurred due to the actions of a single UMI employee rather than a systemic pattern of company-wide conduct;
  2. UMI took remedial action in response to the alleged violations, including by voluntarily ceasing transactions involving Iran and by implementing new procedures and updating its compliance program to prevent the recurrence of similar sanctions violations;
  3. UMI has not received a penalty notice or Finding of Violation from OFAC in the five years preceding the earliest date of the transactions giving rise to the alleged violations;
  4. UMI cooperated with OFAC’s investigation by providing timely responses to OFAC’s correspondence and by entering into multiple statute of limitations tolling agreements; (5) UMI is a small business, as determined by the size standards set forth by the Small Business Administration; and (6) based on the financial condition of UMI, including significant financial difficulties experienced by the company in recent years, additional mitigation is warranted.

Settlement: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20170228.aspx

Justice Publishes Summary of Major U.S. Export Enforcement, Economic Espionage, Trade Secret, and Embargo-Related Criminal Cases

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

(Source: Justice)

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has published its Summary of Major U.S. Export Enforcement, Economic Espionage, Trade Secret, and Embargo-Related Criminal Cases, (January 2014 to the present: updated February 17, 2017), available at here.

The list contains a brief description of some of the major export enforcement, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and embargo-related criminal prosecutions by the Justice Department since January 2014. These cases resulted from investigations by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) [formerly Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)], the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Pentagon’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), and other law enforcement agencies.

Company Fined $301K for Exporting Thermal Imaging Cameras to Hong Kong, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation (Milwaukee Electric) of Brookfield, WI has settled with the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on 25 charges of Engaging in Prohibited Conduct (764.2(a)). The company has agreed to pay a fine of $301,000 and will not be debarred.

Between April 2012 and May 2014 Milwaukee Electric exported thermal imaging cameras classified as 6A003.b.4 (controlled for NS and RS) to Hong Kong, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico without obtaining the required Department of Commerce export licenses. The total value of all shipments was approximately $129,284…nearly half of the fine that the company will pay.

Settlement Agreement: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/1099-e2489/file

Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Sensitive Military Documents from United Technologies and Exporting Them to China

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Yu Long, 38, a citizen of China and permanent resident of the US, plead guilty on December 19, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to engage in the theft of trade secrets as well as one count of unlawful export and attempted export of defense articles from the US. Long worked as a Senior Engineer/Scientist at United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) from May 2008 to May 2014 where he worked on F119 and F135 engines. During this time Long always intended to return to China to work on research projects at state-run universities in China using the knowledge and materials he was acquiring at UTRC. During 2013 and 2014, Long was recruited by Shenyang Institute of automation (SIA), of China, where he substantiated claims that he could provide documents from his work at UTRC and examples of projects on which he worked.

On May 30, 2014, Long left URTC and began travelling back and forth between the US and China with a UTRC external hard drive that he unlawfully retained after his employment ended. On November 7, 2014, Long was arrested, two days after he attempted to board a plane to China with sensitive, proprietary and export controlled documents from Rolls Royce, not URTC. His checked baggage was inspected by CBP officer in Newark, NJ, where the hard drive was found with all of the proprietary, export controlled information.

After his digital media was seized it was found that he had voluminous files protected by the ITAR and EAR, as well as files proprietary to UTRC, Pratt, and Rolls Royce. UTRC confirmed that the hard drive that he stole and accessed in China contained not only documents and data from projects long worked on, but also from projects that he did not work on. It was found that he obtained Pratt and Rolls Royce proprietary information from a project that the US Air Force had convened a consortium of major defense contractors to work together to see if they could collectively lower the costs of specific metals used.

A sentencing date has not been set but Long faces a maximum term of imprisonment for 15 years for the theft of trade secrets charge and 20 years of imprisonment for violated the Arms Export Act.

More Information: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chinese-national-admits-stealing-sensitive-military-program-documents-united-technologies

Lebanon Company Fined $450,000 for Reexporting Items to Syria

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Tecnoline SAL (Tecnoline )of Sin El Fil, Beirut, Lebanon pled guilty to 7 charges of Causing, Aiding, or Abetting a Violation of the Regulations and will pay a civil penalty of $450,000. Tecnoline reexported US-origin mass spectrometers, gas chromatographs and consumables, liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer systems, and liquid chromatograph modules (ECCN 3A999), controlled for anti-terrorism reasons, to Syria. There is a long standing US Embargo against Syria which makes a BIS license required for all exports/reexports subject to the EAR with the only exception being food and certain medicines).

The items were manufactured by Agilent Technologies (Agilent), a US company, and Technoline was an authorized distributor and reseller of Agilent’s products. In 2004, Technoline signed an agreement with Agilent that acknowledged their awareness of US export control laws and regulations and agreed to comply with them as a reseller and distributor of controlled products. Between August 2009 and October 2010, Technoline negotiated price discounts on the items with Agilent and eventually ordered the items for the Syrian Government ministries or entities. Technoline falsely identified the ultimate destination of the items as being Iraq or Lebanon (BIS license not required) and on one or more occasions they failed to disclose the ultimate destination of the items. Agilent shipped the items to TEchnoline in Beirut, Lebanon via Agilent’s German subsidiary. Once Technoline received the items they transferred them to Syria, there they were installed at Syrian Government ministries within a month or so. There were never any authorizations from BIS to export the items from the US to Syria, or to reexport them from Germany to Syria.

View Order: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2015/1080-e2474/file

Antiboycott Violation Nets $238,000 Fine for Furnishing Prohibited Business Information

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Coty Middle East FZCO (UAE) has agreed to pay $238,000 to settle 70 violations of 15 CFR §760.2(d) – Furnishing Information about Business Relationships with Boycotted Countries or Blacklisted Persons.

Coty Middle East FZCO is a foreign affiliate of Coty Inc., a US company located in Delaware thus are they are defined as a US person under 760.1(b) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). From 2009-2013 Coty Middle East engaged in transactions involving the sale and/or transfer of goods or services from the US to Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, and Yemen, activities in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States. In connection with these activities Coty Middle East furnished the following statement 70 times:  “WE HEREBY CERTIFY…. THAT ABOVE MENTIONED GOODS DO NOT CONTAIN ANY MATERIAL OF ISRAEL ORIGIN…”

View Order: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/antiboycott/alleged-antiboycott-violations-2015/1083-a748/file