Ever heard of The Parts Guys? Neither had I. Now, it seems, the whole world knows about this business and its president, Michael Edward Todd.
The Parts Guys, LLC, is a company in Port Orange, Florida, which also operates a warehouse in Macon, Georgia. (I’m going out on a limb and guessing these guys sell parts, but I can’t find their website to confirm that fact.) Last week, The Parts Guys and Todd were charged with conspiracy to illegally export military components for fighter jets and attack helicopters to Iran. In total, there were seven individuals and five corporate entities charged in what the Department of Justice calls an “international procurement network.”
Based on the DOJ press release, Todd and others were allegedly conspiring to violate the ITAR by selling these military components through networks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France to Iran. These included parts for the Bell AH-1 attack helicopter, UH-1 Huey attack helicopter, as well as F-5 and F-4 fighter jets. All such components which are specifically designed for defense purposes are currently controlled on the United States Munitions List and subject to the export compliance restrictions of the ITAR.
Todd and The Parts Guys have plead guilty, but not yet been sentenced. Another individual, Hank Seifi, has plead guilty and been sentenced to 56 months in prison followed by three years probation. Seifi also received a fine of $12,500 and a forfeiture of $153,950. The other defendants in this case are still fugitives at large.
In connection with this indictment, BIS has also added eight parties in France, Iran and the UAE to its Entity List.
Export violations like these carry stiff fines and heavy penalties, as they point to alleged criminal activity from the defendants. I think we can expect to see a similarly harsh sentence for Todd, and continued strict enforcement of other violations from DDTC, BIS and OFAC going forward.
Tom Reynolds is the President of Export Solutions, a consultancy firm which specializes in helping companies with import/export compliance.