An Iranian corporation, its subsidiaries, and several of its officers and business partners have been charged in Alexandria, Virginia, accused of allegedly exporting more than $30 million in computer goods from U.S. companies to Iran, in violation of the Iranian sanctions program administered by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).

The case was originally filed under seal in July 2012, but was made public in December after two alleged conspirators were arrested in Los Angeles, California. The two U.S. persons arrested were Alireza Beshcari and Mikaeil Ghahramani.

Business Machinery World Wide (BMWW aka Jahan Goster, Co.) is an Iranian company that imports computer and related equipment and redistributes such equipment to persons and entities in Iran. BMWW has three subsidiary companies located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. BMWW, its subsidiaries, and nine officers and individuals have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, several U.S. persons are allegedly included in the conspiracy. In addition to the two individuals identified above, Amir Mazlomian is also included in the indictment as a U.S. person. Other U.S. entities cited to in the indictment include Photo Craft, Inc., located in Burke, Virginia, and Compudirect3000, located in Irvine, California. Photo Craft and Compudirect3000 have not been indicted nor charged in the criminal complaint.

The Government claims that it has direct evidence of involvement by U.S. persons in the form of emails, shipping forms, and other communications with BMWW and its subsidiaries. The Government is going to use such evidence to prove that the U.S. defendants had knowledge of the Iran sanctions and were willfully violating them by conspiring with others to exporting computer related goods to Iran via Dubai.

Because Beshcari, Ghahramani, and Mazlomian have been charged with conspiracy, the Government only has to prove that they entered into an agreement to export computer related goods ultimately destined for Iran. Further, they must prove that they engaged in acts in furtherance of the conspiracy. From a defense perspective, trying to argue against a conspiracy charge can be extremely difficult, particularly because the Government does not have to prove that the defendants acted willfully.

The criminal case is still in its early stages. Although two U.S. persons have been arrested, the case has not set a trial date as of today. This may give the U.S. persons a chance to cooperate with the Government in an effort to receive a reduced sentence. Plea negotiations are not always the best course, but the evidence in this case is mostly in the form of written communications, which tend to easily sway jurors.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrariassociatespc.com.

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