nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Justice (C.D. Cal. May 22, 2017) (guilty plea in espionage/AECA sting)

May 23, 2017

From DOJ’s press release:

WASHINGTON – Today, Gregory Allen Justice, 49, of Culver City, California, pleaded guilty to federal charges of one count of attempting to commit economic espionage and one count of attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act. The charges are related to Justice’s selling sensitive satellite information to a person he believed to be an agent of a Russian intelligence service. Justice was an engineer who worked for a cleared defense contractor. Specifically, he worked on military and commercial satellite programs.

The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown for the Central District of California.

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Justice stole proprietary trade secrets from his employer and provided them to a person he believed to be a Russian agent – but who in fact was an undercover FBI employee.

In addition to their proprietary nature, the documents contained technical data covered by the U.S. Munitions List and therefore were subject to controls restricting export from the U.S. under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In exchange for providing these materials during a series of meeting between February and July of 2016, Justice sought and received thousands of dollars in cash payments. During one meeting, Justice and the undercover agent discussed developing a relationship like one depicted on the television show “The Americans,” and during their final meeting, Justice offered to take the undercover agent on a tour of his employer’s production facilities where Justice said all military spacecraft were built, according to the plea agreement.

Justice faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Justice pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George Wu, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 18. Justice has been in custody since his arrest in July 2016.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Attorneys from the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

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nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Alebbini (S.D. Ohio May 11, 2017) (attempted provision of material support to Islamic State)

May 12, 2017

Form the press release:

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Alebbini allegedly attempted to provide support in the form of personnel, namely himself, to ISIS.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division and other members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) announced the indictment.

Alebbini was arrested on April 26 at the Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport and charged with the same crime by criminal complaint. He has remained in custody since his arrest.

Attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The JTTF includes officers and agents from the Cincinnati Police Department, Colerain Police Department, Dayton Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, University of Cincinnati Police Department, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, FBI, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Oakwood Police Department, West Chester Police Department and Cincinnati State Police Department.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the JTTF, as well as First Assistant Vipal J. Patel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dominick S. Gerace and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, who are prosecuting the case.