Mehdi Khoshghadam of Tehran, Iran allegedly started buying electrical connectors and cables in 2016 from a company in the United States. The equipment were shipped to a freight forwarding company located in Hong Kong and then shipped to Iran.
To order the goods from the U.S. company, Khoshghadam allegedly used an alias of David Lei when communicating with the U.S. company and Merlin International Trading Company, a front company purported to be located in Singapore. During one of the initial purchases of goods from the U.S. company, he allegedly tried to pay for the goods using an alias of Pouyan.
But the U.S. company informed Khoshghadam that its bank had rejected the payment because the payer’s name and the company submitting the order should be the same. He then allegedly contacted a co-conspirator from China, who later contacted the U.S. company and claimed to his agent and would handle payment for the goods.
Between January 2016 and May 2018, Khoshghadam allegedly posed as a Merlin International Trading Company representative and submitted orders for the cables and connectors to the U.S. company at least three times. He and a co-conspirator used front companies in China and Malaysia to make payments to the U.S. company for the goods to conceal the true identity of the buyer.
At Khoshghadam’s direction, the U.S. company shipped the goods to a freight forwarding company in Hong Kong. The goods had been repacked with falsified shipping records that listed a non-U.S. company as the shipper and the end destination as Iran.
On at least one occasion, Khoshghadam allegedly falsified BIS-711, a form of the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s Bureau of Industry and Security that requires the U.S. goods buyer to specify the end user’s identity and location. He allegedly listed as the end user of the goods a company in China, which was actually in Iran.
On March 9, 2023, Khoshghadam was charged in Washington, D.C., USA with conspiracy, violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Enacted on October 28, 1977, the IEEPA is a U.S. federal law authorizing the president to regulate international commerce.
Khoshghadam remains a fugitive. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Categories: Asia, China, crimes, Hong Kong, Iran, NEWS, North America, Social Issues, United States
Leave a Reply