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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit

Illinois business owner sentenced for illegal exports to South Korea

CHICAGO - The owner of a local export company was sentenced Wednesday in federal court for illegally exporting thermal imaging cameras to South Korea without the proper licenses. Exporting infrared cameras is restricted because of their potential military uses. This sentence resulted from a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

David Lee, 41, of Park Ridge, Ill., was sentenced June 3 by U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah, Northern District of Illinois, to two years probation, with the first six months in home confinement with electronic monitoring. Lee was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and about $4,375 in restitution.

Lee pleaded guilty March 25 to illegally exporting restricted items without the proper license to South Korea in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). Lee owns Lucena Technology Inc., an exporting company located in Park Ridge.

According to the plea agreement, Lee admitted that, on June 29, 2007, he illegally exported seven thermal imaging cameras from the U.S. to South Korea without the proper authorization or license, in violation of the U.S. export controls to that country. The cameras are primarily used by the military and law enforcement, and are carefully controlled for national security and regional stability reasons.

"Exporting sensitive technology is controlled for good reason," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "Keeping sensitive U.S. technology and software from falling into the wrong hands is a high priority for ICE and the Department of Homeland Security."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Alesia, Northern District of Illinois, successfully prosecuted this case.