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2 New Orleans men plead guilty to export enforcement violations

NEW ORLEANS - Two local men, pleaded guilty here yesterday before U. S. District Judge Lance M. Africk to a one-count bill of information charging them with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR).

James C. Angehr, 70, a resident of Kenner, La., and John N. Fowler, 69, a resident of Metairie, La.,  are owners and corporate officers of Engineering Dynamics, Inc. (EDI).  The Kenner, Louisiana engineering company designed, produced, marketed, and supported Structural Analytical Computer Software (SACS), an engineering software program intended to assist in the design of offshore oil and gas structures.  SACS is a controlled product under various United States laws and regulations due to the product's sophistication and its potential use.  The defendants admitted that beginning in March 1995 and continuing through February 2007, they conspired to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR) by exporting and attempting to export their SACS engineering software program to Iran without having first obtained the required authorizations from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

In November 2006, ICE agents received information that EDI-Engineering Dynamics, Inc. had been selling computer software and providing training and technical support for the software and programs, which were being used in the design and construction of oil platforms for Iranian oil companies. The software packages were marketed and believed to be trans-shipped through a Brazilian based company, which also provided the on-site training and maintenance support for the U.S. manufactured software.  Additional computer security features were provided from the EDI corporate mainframe computer system, which is located in Kenner, La.  These transactions are in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, (IEEPA) 50 USC 1701 - 1706, et seq., and of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, (OFAC), 31 CFR 560. 

On March 14, 2007, ICE agents, assisted by the Department of Commerce, and the FBI executed a search warrant at the corporate office of EDI, seizing documents and imaging computers to forensically search for evidence of the violations.  Document review revealed multiple felony violations of IEEPA and OFAC regulations.

On May 3, 2007, ICE agents arrested Nelson Galgoul, a United States citizen living in Brazil, on a sealed criminal complaint and arrest warrant, for violations of IEEPA and the Iranian Transaction Regulations.   On June 7, 2007, Galgoul was indicted on nine counts of violating the above-listed federal statutes.  Galgoul has pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing.    

Under the IEEPA, Iran has been subject to a trade embargo by the United States since the late 1970s. The Iranian Transactions Regulations expressly prohibit the sale, supply or transshipment of any goods, technology or services to Iran without prior authorization by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Investigators say the men had not received the required prior approval from the Treasury Department to export the pressure sensors.

ICE's Counter Proliferation Investigations (CPI) Unit is responsible for investigating the illegal export of U.S. military products and sensitive technology.  In fiscal year 2005, ICE's CPI Unit conducted more than 2,500 investigations into the illegal export of U.S. munitions and sensitive technology, resulting in 101 arrests, 70 indictments and 86 convictions.

"ICE's partnership with the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), includes the ability to follow the exportation of goods and technology around the world and the ability to acquire and analyze digital evidence by applying our computer forensic skills," stated Michael A. Holt, Special Agent-In-Charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans.

Angehr and Fowler each face a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a fine of $250,000 and three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Aug. 7, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.

The case was investigated by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael W. Magner and Gregory Kennedy.