Tampa Man Sentenced In Mail Fraud Conspiracy
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Randy Dale Barber (42, Tampa, Florida) to 5 years’ probation for conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The Court also ordered Barber to forfeit $413,106, and to pay restitution to Hitachi Data Systems (“HDS”) in the amount of $37,921.20. Barber pleaded guilty on February 28, 2014. Previously, on July 10, 2014, U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell sentenced separately charged mail fraud co-conspirator Michael J. Dragoni (48, Riverview, Florida) to 5 years of probation, with 8 months of home detention. In addition, the Court sentenced two companies used by Dragoni, as part of the conspiracy, namely Fortis Data Systems, LLC (“FDS”) and Greencloud LLC (“Greencloud”) to 5 years of probation. Dragoni, FDS and Greencloud were ordered to forfeit $498,706 and to pay restitution to HDS in the amount of $37,921.20. Dragoni, FDS and Greencloud pleaded guilty on April 24, 2014.
According to plea agreements filed in the cases, from about August 2009 through at least August 2011, Dragoni and Barber, using Dragoni’s companies FDS and Greencloud, conspired to defraud 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, Mahmood Akbari, and UAE company Patco Group, Ltd. 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. To facilitate the conspiracy, they used front companies to make equipment purchases on their behalf. The conspirators then caused the equipment to be shipped to Dubai.
In another case arising from the same investigation, on April 30, 2014, Judge Bucklew 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 1 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 and to a conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transaction Regulations. On October 18, 2012, Hajian was sentenced to 4 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.
“This investigation demonstrates HSI’s commitment to protecting our citizens by ensuring critical U.S. technologies don’t fall into the hands of our foreign enemies,” said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tampa.
"The cooperative efforts between the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security have proven once again that anyone who conspires to violate U.S. embargo sanctions and illegally export sensitive U.S. technology to state sponsors of terrorism will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Protecting the National Security of the United States remains our top priority and we will continue to dismantle and disrupt andy networks attempting the same illegal activities," said Robert Luzzi, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Export Enforcement's, Miami Field Office.
This case was investigated by 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.