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Laura Wang-Woodford, a U.S. citizen who served as a director of Monarch Aviation Pte Ltd., a Singapore company that imported and exported military and commercial aircraft components for more than 20 years, was sentenced today in federal court in Brooklyn to 46 months in prison for conspiring to violate the U.S. trade embargo by exporting controlled aircraft components to Iran. Wang-Woodford was also ordered to forfeit $500,000 to the U.S. Treasury Department.
The sentencing was announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Benton J. Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Kevin Delli-Colli, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement; and John T. Morton, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Wang-Woodford was arrested on Dec. 23, 2007, at San Francisco International Airport after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong, and has remained incarcerated since then. She and her husband, Brian D. Woodford, a U.K. citizen who served as chairman and managing director of Monarch, were originally charged in a 20-count indictment returned in the Eastern District of New York on Jan. 15, 2003. Brian Woodford remains a fugitive. A superseding indictment charging Wang-Woodford with operating Jungda International Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based successor to Monarch, was returned on May 22, 2008.
According to the superseding indictment, between January 1998 and December 2007, the defendants exported controlled U.S. aircraft parts from the United States to Monarch and Jungda in Singapore and Malaysia and then re-exported those items to companies in Tehran, Iran, without obtaining the required U.S. government licenses. As part of the charged conspiracy, the defendants falsely listed Monarch and Jungda as the ultimate recipients of the parts on export documents filed with the U.S. government. The aircraft parts illegally exported to Iran include aircraft shields, shears, “o” rings and switch assemblies. The superseding indictment further charged that the defendants arranged for the illegal export of U.S. military aircraft components, designed for use in Chinook military helicopters, to Monarch in Singapore.
At the time of her arrest in San Francisco, Wang-Woodford possessed catalogues from a Chinese company, the China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC), containing advertisements for military technology and weaponry. The products advertised included surface-to-air missile systems and rocket launchers. CPMIEC has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control, based, in part, on CPMIEC’s history of selling military hardware to Iran. All U.S. persons and entities are prohibited from engaging in business with CPMIEC.
“As today’s sentence demonstrates, those who export restricted American technology in violation of our laws will be held accountable for their actions. Keeping sensitive U.S. technology from falling into the wrong hands is a top priority for the Justice Department,” said Assistant Attorney General Kris.
“We are committed to protect the American public from the national security threat posed by those who would personally profit from the illegal export of U.S. military technology,” said U.S. Attorney Campbell. Mr. Campbell thanked the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agencies responsible for conducting the government’s investigation.
“Shutting down diverters like Monarch Aviation to protect our national security is our top priority, said Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Delli-Colli. “This case illustrates a successful, coordinated effort to stop the illegal shipment of controlled aircraft parts to Iran.”
“The illegal sale of military parts is not only a threat to our national security, but to U.S. soldiers and allies,” said Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Morton.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel S. Silver, Cristina M. Posa and Claire Kedeshian.