July 26th, 2007 05:43 EST
Hussein regime in Iraq, Rochester brother and sister indicted for violating US embargo
DETROIT — Two Rochester siblings were indicted today for exporting telecommunications and other equipment to Iraq during an embargo with that country. This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy, Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the FBI.
Charged in the indictment were Dawn Hanna, 34, and her brother Darrin Hanna, 29. Darrin Hanna is the president and sole owner of Technology Integration Group Services Inc. (“TIGS”), a company based in Rochester, Mich. Dawn Hanna is employed by TIGS as the director of sales and marketing.
The 10-count indictment charges that the Hannas conspired with others to obtain and ship the components for a mobile telecommunications network and GPS equipment to Iraq. The shipments and attempted shipments occurred during the administration of Saddam Hussein in the period leading up to the 2003 invasion by coalition forces.
The indictment also alleges that the Hannas conspired to launder money in connection with the conspiracy. According to the indictment, the Hannas received about $9.5 million for their dealings, which they used to pay suppliers, a middle man and themselves. Dawn Hanna is also charged with making false statements to investigators.
In 1990, an embargo was declared with Iraq, making it illegal to deal in property intended for export to Iraq. The embargo was lifted in May 2003, after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
“For sanctions to be effective they need to be enforced,” said Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Detroit. “This investigation and prosecution should leave no doubt that the United States expects its sanctions to be followed.”
U.S. Attorney Murphy said, “Evading the U.S. trade embargo on a hostile regime like Saddam Hussein’s is a serious crime with punishing consequences that cannot be ignored. I applaud the excellent work by IRS, ICE and the FBI in investigating this crime.”
If convicted on the charges each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Any sentence in this case will be imposed under the federal Sentencing Guidelines based on the nature of the offense and the criminal background, if any, of the defendants.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Special agents of ICE, the IRS and the FBI investigated the case.