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Boulder company charged criminally for "trading with the enemy"

DENVER - Platte River Associates, a company based in Boulder, Colo., was charged here Tuesday in U.S. District Court by Criminal Information for trading with the enemy, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. The president of Platte River Associates, Jay E. Leonard, was also charged in a separate Criminal Information in a different case for unauthorized access of a protected computer. Leonard, and lawyers for the corporation, appeared in federal court July 15 where they were advised of the charges pending against them.

According to the Platte River Associates Criminal Information, in October 2000, the defendant corporation allegedly provided specialized technical computer software and training. This training and software were then used to create a model for potentially exploring and developing oil and gas within Cuba's territorial waters. According to U.S. export laws, the company was required to first obtain a license from the Secretary of the Treasury, which it failed to do.

The case against Platte River Associates was investigated by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If convicted of the trading with the enemy charge, the corporation faces a fine of up to $1 million plus restitution.

Platte River Associates President Jay E. Leonard was also charged in a separate Criminal Information. According to the Information, on Oct. 30, 2005, the defendant allegedly used a wireless network connection at Houston International Airport to access a password-protected computer website server located in Georgia, which belonged to Zetaware Inc., a Texas Corporation. The Criminal Information charges that the unauthorized information obtained by the defendant was done by means of interstate commerce.

The case against Leonard was investigated by the FBI. If convicted of the charge, Leonard faces not more than one year imprisonment, plus a $100,000 fine, and restitution.

"Knowingly exporting sensitive U.S. technology to Cuba amounts to 'trading with the enemy' under federal law, and won't be tolerated," said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid.

"Illegally exporting controlled U.S. technology is tantamount to a breach of our borders," said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. "We will work with our law enforcement partners to identify, investigate and prosecute anyone who threatens our national security by exporting sensitive technology contrary to U.S. export laws." Copp oversees a four-state area which includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

"Those who believe they can sit behind a computer, commit a crime, and get away with it are wrong," said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis. "Mr. Leonard violated these laws for personal gain and will now have to face the consequences."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Mydans, District of Colorado, is prosecuting these cases.

A Criminal Information is when a defendant waives their Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury on a felony charge.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.