September 15, 2005
CALIFORNIA SALES EXECUTIVE PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATING CUSTOMS EXPORT BAN ON PRODUCTS TO IRAN
CHICAGO A suburban Los Angeles sales director for a manufacturing company pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to violating the Iranian Transaction Regulations by attempting to illegally send a banned product to Iran, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Juan Sevilla, 54, of Gardena, Calif., pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of violating customs and commerce export regulations under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Sevilla was previously director of international sales for United Calibration Corp., of Huntington Beach, Calif., which manufactures universal testing systems and related software technologies. Sevilla was first charged in February 2004 when he was arrested on a criminal complaint.
According to the indictment, between Oct. 27, 2003, and Feb. 19, 2004, Sevilla attempted to export a United Computer Inclusive Hydraulic Floor Model Testing Machine from California through Chicago, ultimately destined for Iran, which violates the U.S. export embargo to that country. The machine tests the tensile strength of steel. Neither Sevilla nor United Calibration had government authorization to export the product to Iran.
Exporting sensitive technology is controlled for good reason, said ICE Special Agent-in-Charge Elissa A. Brown. Keeping sensitive U.S. technology and software from falling into the wrong hands is a high priority for ICE and the Department of Homeland Security.
The U.S. Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security also assisted in the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Collins prosecuted this case for the government. Sevilla faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.