Washington Man Sentenced In Conspiracy To Export Sophisticated Computer Equipment To Iran

April 30, 2014

Related Country: 

  • United Arab Emirates

U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced John Alexander Talley (42, Seattle, Washington) to 30 months in federal prison for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transaction Regulations. The court also sentenced Talley's company, Tallyho Peripherals, Inc. d/b/a Enterprise Solutions Systems, to one year of probation.

Talley and Tallyho pleaded guilty on September 18, 2013.

According to court documents, from about 2009 to about September 2012, Talley and his company conspired with others, including Mohammed Reza "Ray" Hajian, to unlawfully export sophisticated enterprise level computer equipment from the United States to Iran, and to provide computer information technology (IT) support services for the equipment, all in violation of the United States embargo. Talley's role was to provide training and computer IT support to ensure that the computer equipment operated in Iran. In an effort to conceal their activities, the conspirators in the United States caused shipments of the computers and related equipment, as well as the payments for same, to travel to and from the United States and Iran through the United Arab Emirates. Similarly, payments for Talley's support services were wired through the UAE.

On July 11, 2012, Hajian and three of his companies, RH International LLC, Nexiant LLC, and P & P Computers LLC, pleaded guilty to charges involving the same conspiracy to violate the Iranian Embargo. Hajian and his companies also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transaction Regulations. On October 18, 2012, Hajian was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

On September 12, 2013, two Iranian nationals, Mahmood Akbari, a/k/a John Wasserman and Reza Hajigholamali, and three UAE front companies, Patco Group Ltd., Managed Systems and Services (FZC), and TGO General Trading LLC, were indicted in connection with the same conspiracy. Charges against those parties included a conspiracy to violate the International Economic Powers Act, and a conspiracy to commit international money laundering. According to the superseding indictment in that case, Hajian was selling the sophisticated computer equipment and services at issue to Akbari.

If convicted, Akbari and Hajigholamali face a maximum penalty of up to 40 years in federal prison.

On April 24, 2014, Michael J. Dragoni (48, Riverview, FL), and two companies controlled by him, Fortis Data Systems, LLC ("FDS") and Greencloud LLC, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Dragoni faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison.

According to plea agreements filed in the case, from about August 2009 through at least August 2011, Dragoni, along with Randy Dale Barber, using Dragoni's companies FDS and Greencloud, conspired to defraud Hitachi Data Systems ("HDS") by making materially false statements to HDS in order to purchase computer equipment for resale to Hajian, who in turn resold the equipment to his client, Akbari, and UAE company Patco. By late 2009, Dragoni, Barber and Hajian knew that HDS refused to sell computer equipment to Hajian, and his customers Akbari and Patco, because HDS believed that the equipment was being diverted to unauthorized end users. In order to deceive HDS and purchase the computer equipment, Dragoni and Barber made false statements regarding the purchaser, end user, and location of installation of the equipment that they were purchasing, including by using front companies to make equipment purchases on their behalf. Dragoni and the conspirators then caused the equipment to be shipped to Dubai.

On February 28, 2014, Barber also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with making false statements to HDS. Barber is scheduled to be sentenced on May 28, 2014, and faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in federal prison.

"Engaging in a conspiracy to export sensitive United States technologies to prohibited countries like Iran is a serious crime that threatens our national security," said Shane Folden, acting special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "HSI is committed to investigating those who seek to steal our country's critical technology and to working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle these illicit procurement networks."

"Protecting our national security is a top priority of the Office of Export Enforcement," said Robert Luzzi, Special Agent In-Charge of the of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Export Enforcement Miami Field Office. "Today's sentencing proves that those who conspire to violate U.S. export controls by illegally diverting sensitive technology anywhere in the world will be pursued and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark E. Bini and Trial Attorney Mariclaire Rourke of the Counterespionage Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Division.