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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
03/06/2009

Port St. Lucie man convicted of Arms Export Control conspiracy

Faces up to six years in prison

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A 55-year-old Port St. Lucie man was convicted on all counts by a federal jury in Fort Pierce following a joint U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) investigation.

Joseph Piquet was convicted yesterday on seven separate counts arising from a conspiracy to purchase high-tech, military use electronic components from Northrop Grumman Corporation, and to then ship the items to Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China without first obtaining required export licenses under the Arms Export Control Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act following a four-day trial.

After his conviction, Piquet was immediately remanded to federal custody. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 14, 2009 in Fort Pierce before U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez.

Among those items involved in the export conspiracy were high-power amplifiers designed for use by the U.S. military in early warning radar and missile target acquisition systems, as well as low noise amplifiers that have both commercial and military use.

The testimony at trial showed that on five separate occasions between March 2004 through Feb. 2005, Piquet bought the restricted electronic components and submitted false End Use Certificates to the manufacturer to conceal the intended final destination of the parts, which he then forwarded through conspirators in Texas and Hong Kong.

U.S Attorney R. Alexander Acosta commended the detailed and collaborative investigative work of OEE, ICE, and the Office of International Affairs of the Department of Justice, which led to the successful prosecutions.

The case was prosecuted in Fort Pierce by Assistant United States Attorneys Diana Acosta and Theodore Cooperstein.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.