Press Release: New York Resident and Company Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Export Computer-Related Equipment to Iran

Bureau of Industry and Security
October 7, 2011

Related Country: 

  • United Arab Emirates

WASHINGTON - Jeng "Jay" Shih, 54, a U.S. citizen, and his Queens, N.Y., company, Sunrise Technologies and Trading Corporation, pleaded guilty today in the District of Columbia to conspiracy to illegally export U.S.-origin computers from the United States to Iran through the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The guilty pleas were announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); David W. Mills, Assistant Secretary of Export Enforcement, U.S. Department of Commerce; and Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. Department of the Treasury.

At a hearing today before U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg, Shih and his company each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to defraud the United States. The maximum sentence is five years in prison and $1 million in criminal fines. Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 13, 2012.

Under the terms of the plea and related civil settlements with the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security and OFAC, Shih and his company have agreed to forfeiture of a money judgment in the amount of $1.25 million. In addition, Shih and Sunrise are denied export privileges for 10 years, although this penalty will be suspended provided that neither Shih nor Sunrise commits any export violations.

Shih was arrested on a criminal complaint on April 6, 2011. He and his company were later indicted on April 21, 2011. According to court documents filed in the case, beginning as early as about 2007, Shih conspired with a company operating in Dubai, UAE, and Tehran, Iran, to procure U.S.-origin computers through Sunrise and export those computers from the United States to Iran, through Dubai, without first obtaining a license or authorization from OFAC.

Specifically, in April 2010, the defendants caused the illegal export of 368 units of computer-related goods to Dubai, which were later sent to Iran. Later that month, the defendants caused the illegal export of 158 additional units of computer-related goods to Dubai, which were later sent to Iran. The defendants subsequently caused an additional 185 units of computer-related goods to be illegally exported to Iran via Dubai.

This investigation was conducted by the ICE-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) field offices New York and San Diego and the Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement field offices in New York and Los Angeles, with assistance from ICE-HSI offices in Chicago, Newark, N.J., Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif. The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection and OFAC's Office of Enforcement also assisted in the investigation.

Chief Counsel Attorney Gregory Michelsen and Attorney-Advisor Elizabeth Abraham from the U.S. Department of Commerce and Assistant Director of Enforcement Michael Geffroy and Enforcement Officer Elizabeth Fruzynski of the U.S. Department of Treasury handled the civil settlements for their respective agencies.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys T. Patrick Martin and Anthony Asuncion, from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, and Trial Attorney Jonathan C. Poling from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division.