India- and New Jersey-Based Jeweler Charged with Multimillion-Dollar International Trade Fraud Scheme and Unlicensed Money Transmitting
NEWARK, N.J. – The former program manager of an international freight forwarding company has been arrested on charges that he embezzled over $550,000 from the company, United States Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Morten Nielsen, 36, a Danish national residing in Jersey City, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with two counts of wire fraud. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson by videoconference yesterday.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
As program manager for the international freight forwarding company, Nielsen was responsible for the company’s contract relating to the Egyptian Foreign Military Sales program (EFMP), a program between the government of Egypt and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that facilitates the sale and repair of military equipment from the DoD to Egypt. Nielsen was responsible for ensuring all safeguards and logistics for the transportation of certain classified material between the United States and Egypt and for submitting all paperwork and billing invoices on behalf of the company to the Egyptian government. Once approved, those invoices were forwarded to the DoD for payment to the company.
Nielsen allegedly sent fraudulent invoices on behalf of his employer to the Egyptian government that included charges for services performed by a sham company he created. The sham company did not perform any services for his employer. Once the fraudulent invoices were approved by Egypt and paid by the DoD, Nielsen caused his employer to pay the sham company he created over $550,000 over a two-year period.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; special agents of the DoD – Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey; and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Mahoney, of the Government Frauds Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.