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May 12, 2021Santa Ana, CA, United StatesNational Security

Defense contractor employee and Orange County man arrested for alleged theft and sale of government-owned technical orders following HSI investigation

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and law enforcement partners today arrested an employee of a Department of Defense contractor on a criminal complaint alleging he unlawfully sold United States Air Force technical data to an Orange County man who then illegally resold the data to customers.

Sarfraz Yousuf, 43, of Miramar, Florida, was taken into federal custody this morning. Also arrested today was Marc Chavez, 53, of Trabuco Canyon.

Yousuf is expected to make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Chavez is expected to appear in federal court in Santa Ana. Each man is charged with one count of theft of government property.

This case is being investigated by HSI Los Angeles; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement; U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, during an investigation into a U.S. Navy employee’s unlawful sale of government-controlled technical drawings to a Newport Beach-based company, Newport Aeronautical Sales Corp. (NASC), law enforcement discovered NASC also illegally obtained U.S. Air Force technical orders from the users of an email account used by Yousuf, an employee of Summit Aerospace Inc., a Miami-based aircraft maintenance company.

The technical orders at issue in this case are documents that cover installation, operation, maintenance and handling of Air Force equipment and material.

During the investigation, law enforcement also discovered Chavez illegally acquired Air Force technical orders from Yousuf on behalf of LTC Products, a Trabuco Canyon-based company selling technical aerospace data that Chavez ran out of his home.

From January 2015 to July 2020, Chavez allegedly unlawfully acquired at least 1,875 Air Force technical orders from Yousuf in exchange for at least $132,280. Yousuf was not authorized to sell the technical orders and Chavez was not authorized to receive them.

In June 2020, Yousuf allegedly sold 34 Air Force technical orders to Chavez, including one marked with a distribution statement reserved for “technical data of such military significance that release…may jeopardize an important technological or operational military advantage of the United States,” and containing overhaul instructions related to a “Rate Gyro Assembly Flight Control,” for $2,170. Chavez allegedly resold the orders to customers for a profit.

If convicted, the defendants would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

In a related case, Mark Fitting, 54, of Berlin, New Jersey, an engineer employed by the Navy at a facility in Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in December 2020, to one count of conspiracy to steal government property and one count of aiding and abetting the theft of government property. Fitting admitted in his plea agreement that he downloaded technical drawings and manuals related to U.S. military weapons systems and sold the items to NASC, which later resold the documents to domestic and foreign customers. Fitting’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 18, in Santa Ana.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California’s International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 05/13/2021