Tampa man sentenced for exporting millions of dollars of computer equipment to Iran

TAMPA, Fla. – A Tampa man was sentenced Thursday, October 19, 2012 to four years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transaction Regulations. He was also ordered to serve one year of supervised release and forfeit $10 million, which was traceable to proceeds from the offense. This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement.

Mohammad Reza “Ray” Hajian was born in Tehran, Iran. Reza Hajian is associated with several companies, including Nexiant LLC, P&P Computer, LLC. and Rh International LLC. Reza Hajian has 4 known relationships including Kostas Kerdemelidis, Leon Mavromatis and Nicholas Mavromatis and is located in Tampa, FL. Source: Florida Department of State last refreshed 5/20/2012 You may view Hajian’s connections in Florida by going here.

According to court documents, between 2003 and 2011, Mohammad Reza “Ray” Hajian, 57, of Tampa, conspired with others to unlawfully export sophisticated, enterprise-level computer and related equipment from the United States to Iran, in violation of the U.S. embargo. In an effort to conceal their activities, Hajian and his co-conspirators routed shipments of computers and related equipment, payments and travel between the United States and Iran through the United Arab Emirates. Hajian and his co-conspirators communicated with each other via email. They employed fake identities, fake end-users and coded language to mask the true nature of their activities. Hajian shipped approximately $14.85 million worth of computer and related equipment during the conspiracy.

According to Tampa Bay Online:

Hajian conspired to export the equipment without the required U.S. license from as early as 2003 through the autumn of 2011, prosecutors said.

During one shipment in 2009, Hajian emailed a co-conspirator a proposal to sell Hitachi Data Systems equipment for delivery to Iran through the United Arab Emirates, court documents said.

In May 2009, Hajian received wire transfers from an employee in the United Arab Emirates totaling $1 million, payment — at least in part — for the computer equipment.

Hajian then sent an email to an unnamed co-conspirator in Iran saying the sale was for $128,315.

In June 2009, Hajian made a shipment to the United Arab Emirates, “knowing that this shipment was destined for Iran and also caused the value of the shipment … to be significantly understated on export documentation,” court documents said.

“The magnitude and scope of the threats facing the United States has never been greater than today, and that’s why Homeland Security Investigations investigates individuals who try to export sensitive technologies to hostile nations,” said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. “Homeland Security Investigations takes pride in protecting our country, and today’s sentencing is the latest example of our effective investigative efforts.”

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates the ongoing cooperation with our federal law enforcement partners to prevent U.S. technology from falling into the wrong hands. In this case, a key Iranian procurement network which could have been damaging to U.S. national security was shut down,” said Robert Luzzi, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement Miami Field Office. “Parties who conspire to export to embargoed destinations such as Iran will be pursued and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Hajian pleaded guilty July 11. Three of his companies, RH International LLC, Nexiant LLC, and P & P Computers LLC, also pleaded guilty that same day.