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Contraband
10/03/2008

Federal jury finds Michigan woman guilty of violating export embargo against Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq

Attempted to transship sensitive communication equipment and launder monies

DETROIT - A Rochester, Mich., woman was found guilty Thursday by a federal jury here on eight counts of illegally exporting telecommunications and other equipment to Iraq during an embargo with that country. This verdict was announced by: Acting U.S. Attorney Terence Berg, Eastern District of Michigan; Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth L. Wainstein; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Moskowitz.

Dawn Hanna, 34, was found guilty by a federal jury that deliberated for about five days before returning its verdict. The decision concluded a trial that began on Sept. 9 before U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani. The jury acquitted co-defendant Darrin Hanna, Dawn Hanna's brother, on all counts of the indictment.

Dawn Hanna was employed by Technology Integration Group (TIGS), a Rochester company, as the director of sales and marketing.

ICE agents began investigating in February 2003 after they received information concerning the illegal exports to Iraq. The investigation and supporting evidence revealed that Dawn Hanna conspired with others to obtain and transship components for a mobile telecommunications network and GPS (global positioning system) equipment to Iraq. The attempted and completed shipments occurred during Saddam Hussein's administration before the 2003 invasion by U.S.-led coalition forces.

Additional evidence showed that the illegally shipped telecommunications equipment contained encryption properties, giving it dual-use military capabilities. The investigation proved that Dawn Hanna conspired to also launder money in connection with the conspiracy. Dawn Hanna received about $9.5 million from these deals, which was used to pay suppliers, a middle man and family members.

In 1990, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act was instituted against 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's regime.

"While the defendant profited handsomely from her violations of the Iraq embargo, this indictment shows that there is a price to be paid for illegally trading with outlaw regimes," said Assistant Attorney General Wainstein.

Acting U.S. Attorney Berg said, "Evading the U.S. trade embargo on a hostile regime for profit, 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."

ICE Special Agent in Charge Moskowitz said, "For sanctions to be effective they need to be enforced. The investigation and prosecution of this case should leave no doubt that the United States expects its sanctions to be followed."

IRS Special Agent in Charge Aouate said, "Illicit trade with Iraq is a crime that revolves around an enormous amount of money. This verdict shows that IRS Criminal Investigation, along with ICE and our other law enforcement partners, have the financial investigators and expertise that is essential in locating this money even when it is sheltered from detection or involves financial outlets worldwide."

Dawn Hanna's sentencing has been set for Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. She faces a maximum term of imprisonment ranging from five years to 20 years.

The case was investigated by special agents from ICE, the IRS, the FBI and the Department of Commerce. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney's Barbara McQuade and Michael Martin, Eastern District of Michigan.