SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Chinese language nationwide who pleaded responsible to taking part in a scheme that illegally exported delicate area communications expertise to China was sentenced as we speak to serve 46 months in federal jail.
Si Chen, 33, a Pomona resident who has been in custody since her arrest in Might 2017, was sentenced by U.S. District Decide Cormac J. Carney.
The investigation on this case was performed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Safety Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Division of Commerce’s Workplace of Export Enforcement, and the Protection Legal Investigative Service.
Chen, who used varied aliases, included “Cathy Chen,” pleaded responsible in July to conspiracy to violate the Worldwide Emergency Financial Powers Act (IEEPA), which controls and restricts the export of sure items and expertise from the US to overseas nations. Chen additionally pleaded responsible to cash laundering and utilizing a solid passport together with her photograph however a special identify that appeared to have been issued by the Folks’s Republic of China.
“This defendant knowingly participated in a plot to secretly ship objects with navy functions to China,” stated Nick Hanna, U.S. Legal professional for the Central District of California. “The smuggled objects could possibly be utilized in a variety of damaging methods, together with in gear that would jam our satellite tv for pc communications. We are going to aggressively goal all individuals who present overseas brokers with expertise in violation of U.S. legislation.”
In response to courtroom paperwork, from March 2013 by way of the top of 2015, Chen bought and smuggled delicate objects to China with out acquiring licenses from the U.S. Division of Commerce which might be required underneath IEEPA. These objects included elements generally utilized in navy communications “jammers.” Moreover, Chen smuggled communications gadgets value greater than $100,000 which might be generally utilized in area communications functions. Chen falsely under-valued the objects on the delivery paperwork to keep away from arousing suspicion. Chen acquired funds for the illegally exported merchandise by way of an account held at a financial institution in China by a member of the family.
Below IEEPA, it’s crime to willfully export or try to export objects that seem on the Commerce Management Record with out a license from the U.S. Division of Commerce. These are objects authorities have decided could possibly be detrimental to regional stability and nationwide safety.
“The export of delicate expertise objects to China or anyplace else on the earth is tightly regulated for good motive,” stated Joseph Macias, Particular Agent in Cost for Homeland Safety Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles. “One in every of HSI’s high enforcement priorities is stopping U.S. navy merchandise and delicate expertise from falling into the fingers of those that may search to hurt America or its pursuits. We are going to proceed to work intently with its legislation enforcement companions to aggressively goal and examine those that jeopardize our nation’s safety – or the welfare of these dedicated to defending it.”
Along with taking part within the scheme to violate IEEPA, Chen used a number of aliases and a solid Chinese language passport to hide her smuggling actions. Chen used a Chinese language passport bearing her photograph and a false identify – “Chunping Ji” – to lease an workplace in Pomona the place she took supply of the export-controlled objects. After receiving the products, Chen shipped the gadgets to Hong Kong, and from there the objects had been transshipped to China. The parcels shipped to Hong Kong bore her false identify, together with false product descriptions and financial values, all finished in an effort to keep away from attracting legislation enforcement scrutiny.
“At the moment’s sentencing is the results of excellent collaborative investigative work by the Workplace of Export Enforcement and its legislation enforcement companions to stop the unlawful cargo of subtle U.S.-origin expertise. We are going to proceed to pursue violators wherever they might be,” stated Richard Weir, Particular Agent in Cost of the U.S. Division of Commerce, Bureau of Business and Safety, Workplace of Export Enforcement, Los Angeles Area Workplace.
“At the moment’s sentencing of Chen demonstrates the Protection Legal Investigative Service’s unwavering dedication to guard our nation from those that would do hurt,” stated Chris Hendrickson, Particular Agent in Cost, DCIS Western Area Workplace. “DCIS, together with our federal legislation enforcement companions, will relentlessly pursue those that put our navy in danger by illegally exporting protected navy property and delicate expertise to dangerous actors.”
The case in opposition to Chen is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Legal professional Judith A. Heinz of the Nationwide Safety Division.