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New Jersey woman admits role in smuggling $2 million in airplane parts to Iran  4 Weeks ago

Source:   USA Today  

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – A Morristown woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring with an Iranian national to smuggle thousands of airplane components – worth an estimated $2 million – to Iran.

Joyce Eliabachus, also known as Joyce Marie Gundran Manangan, 52,  pleaded guilty in Newark Federal Court to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in connection with her role in an international procurement network.

The alleged ringleader of that network, Peyman Amiri Larijani, was charged Tuesday in connection with the scheme, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said.

Larijani, 33, a citizen and resident of Iran, was charged with one count each of conspiracy to violate Iranian transactions and sanctions regulations, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States.

Larijani was also charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in two separate indictments unsealed June 4, 2019.

The guilty plea by Eliabachus and the charges unsealed against Larijani follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement.

“For over two years, Eliabachus illegally engaged in aircraft component sales to Iran, a nation listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Brian Michael, HSI Newark special agent in charge, said. “This potentially endangered U.S. security, particularly as one of the Iranian companies sold to, does business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a military unit tied to terrorist acts around the world."

According to court documents, Eliabachus was the principal officer and operator of Edsun Equipments LLC, a purported New Jersey-based aviation parts trading company run out of her Morristown residence.

“This arrest will cut off a key supplier to a proliferation network which illegally sold U.S. origin items to Iran," said special agent in charge Jonathan Carson, of the Office of Export Enforcement.

Larijani was the owner of an Iran-based procurement firm and served as operations and sales manager of a network of supply and engineering companies in Tehran, Iran, and Istanbul, authorities said. 

From May 2015 through October 2017, Eliabachus, Larijani, and their conspirators facilitated at least 49 shipments containing 23,554 license-controlled aircraft parts from the United States to Iran, all of which were exported without the required licenses, court documents show.

Eliabachus admitted she used her company to finalize the purchase and acquisition of the requested components from the various U.S.-based distributors. She repackaged and shipped the components to companies in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, where Larijani and other Iranian conspirators directed the components to locations in Iran.

To obscure the network’s procurement activities, Eliabachus told authorities she routinely falsified the true destination and end-user of the components she acquired. She also falsified the true value of the components to avoid filing export control forms.

The illegal network’s client list included Iranian airline companies, several of which have been officially designated by the United States as a threat to national security, foreign policy, or economic interests.

The count of conspiracy to violate IEEPA, to which Eliabachus pleaded guilty, carries a maximum potential of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Her sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 24. 

For Larijani, the conspiracy to violate the ITSR carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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