(FLORIDA) Justice Dept Court Report: Residents Charged with Conspiring to Violate Iran Sanctions and Other Crimes #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.16: According to the criminal complaint affidavit, between October 2016 and November 2020, Express Gene received numerous wire transfers from accounts in Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, totaling almost $3.5 million. It is alleged that some of the money received was used by Express Gene and its principals to purchase genetic sequencing equipment from U.S. manufacturers and ship them to Iran without a license from the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to export the machines, despite sanctions on Iran.

#AceDailyNews reports that three Florida residents have been charged in federal district court in Miami with crimes related to their alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran, and money laundering…..

Defendants Mohammad Faghihi, 52, his wife Farzeneh Modarresi, 53, and his sister Faezeh Faghihi, 50, operated Florida company Express Gene: The incoming money also was used by F. Faghihi and Modarresi to fund the 2019 purchase of the Express Gene property, says the affidavit.

On Feb. 20, Faghihi arrived at Miami International Airport from Iran, where he was inspected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. According to the charging documents, during his inspection by CBP officers, Faghihi made false statements, including that he did not practice his profession in Iran or conduct any type of research in Iran. In fact, according to the affidavit, Faghihi was the director of a laboratory within Shiraz University of Medical Science in Iran bearing his name: “Dr. Faghihi’s Medical Genetic Center,”. In addition, his luggage contained 17 vials of unknown biological substances covered with ice packs and concealed beneath bread and other food items, according to the affidavit. All the vials were subject to regulations. 

From approximately 2013 to approximately 2020, Faghihi was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami (UM), Miller School of Medicine. During this period, he was the principal investigator on several National Institute of Health (NIH) grants awarded in February 2013, December 2016 and June 2017. It is alleged that Express Gene and Faghihi received large deposits from international wires during this period, but they were not disclosed as required to either UM or NIH’s financial conflict of interest reporting system.

Defendants made their initial federal court appearances today. Their pretrial detention hearings will take place tomorrow, Sept. 15, at 10:00 a.m. in federal magistrate court in Miami.

All defendants are charged with conspiring to commit an offense against the United States and conspiring to commit money laundering. Faghihi and Modarresi are also charged with the unlawful exports of goods to Iran, and smuggling goods out of the United States. Faghihi and F. Faghihi were charged with smuggling goods into the United States and making false statements. Faghihi is further charged with wire fraud.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge George Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Director Vernon Foret of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Miami Field Office made the announcement.

FBI Miami and CBP Miami are investigating the case. The University of Miami provided invaluable assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Thakur and Senior Litigation Counsel Randy Hummel of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Menno Goedman of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Sept.16: 2021:

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(WASHINGTON) Justice Dept Report – Mar.16: Dual U.S.-Mexican citizen pleaded guilty today to willfully engaging in financial dealings with Mexican companies that had been identified #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.16: According to court documents, Jessica Johanna Oseguera Gonzalez, 34, of Guadalajara, Mexico, violated the criminal penalties of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (the Kingpin Act) by engaging in property transactions with six Mexican businesses that OFAC previously designated to be “specially designated narcotics traffickers.”

Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Daughter of Prolific Mexican Cartel Leader Pleads Guilty to Criminal Violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act

These six businesses were so designated because they provided material support to the Mexican drug trafficking organization known as the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), which was itself designated by OFAC in April 2015. Oseguera Gonzalez’s father, Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, aka “El Mencho,” who is the leader of CJNG, and her uncle, Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, who is the leader of the Los Cuinis drug trafficking organization, were also sanctioned by OFAC in April 2015

“The Kingpin Act is a critically important tool in the U.S. government’s unrelenting efforts to target foreign drug cartels that seek to flood American streets with illegal drugs,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and criminally prosecute those who willfully violate Treasury Department sanctions under the Kingpin Act, as a key component of our broader whole-of-government strategy to dismantle and disrupt foreign drug cartels.”

“Today’s guilty plea is a result of our relentless commitment to disrupt and dismantle all aspects of the CJNG organization,” said Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division. “Our efforts will continue to include a focus on those who facilitate these illicit drug networks. Together with the Department of Justice, we will use all the investigative tools available, including OFAC designations, to bring to justice those who engage in illegal activity that is fueling the drug crisis nationwide.”   

Court documents indicate that Oseguera Gonzalez was an owner of two Mexican companies designated by OFAC, J&P Advertising S.A. de C.V., and JJGON S.P.R. de R.L. de C.V., and that she was an officer, director, or agent of four additional sanctioned businesses, Las Flores Cabanas, Mizu Sushi Lounge, Tequila Onze Black, and Operadora Los Famosos S.A. de C.V., doing business as Kenzo Sushi. She remained an owner, officer, director, or agent of those entities following their OFAC designations, and did not seek the required license from OFAC to engage in those financial transactions.

Oseguera Gonzalez pleaded guilty to willfully violating the Kingpin Act’s prohibitions on engaging in transactions or dealings in property with entities or persons sanctioned under the Kingpin Act, and to being an officer, director, or agent of entities who knowingly participated in Kingpin Act violations. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11 and faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division is investigating the case, and the Justice Department particularly thanks the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury for its support. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided investigative assistance.

Trial Attorneys Brett Reynolds, Kaitlin Sahni, and Kate Naseef of the Justice Department’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section are prosecuting the case.

This case received significant support from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The OCDETF program supports investigations around the country to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Mar.16: 2021:

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#cartel, #doj, #narcotics, #ofac, #traffickers, #washington