CHICAGO (STMW) — The president of a west suburban supply company and a former employee were recently indicted on federal charges for illegally exporting and importing military components to manufacturers in China.
Some of the materials exported include components used in night vision systems on the M1A1 Abrams tank, the U.S. Armed Forces’ main battle tank, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Arlington Heights-based Vibgyor Optical Systems, it’s president and a former employee were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in January and made public this week, the statement said.
Vibgyor tried to manufacture optics and optical systems, including items that were to be supplied to the Department of Defense, but instead of manufacturing the items domestically, as it claimed, Vibgyor sent the technical data and samples of military articles to manufacturers in China, the department said.
The company then imported the items from China to sell to its customers, which included the DOD, the statement said.
Bharat Victor Verma, 74, of Arlington Heights, who is president of Vibgyor and former Vibgyor employee Urvashi Sonia Verma, 40, of Chicago, were each charged in the indictment.
Between November 2006 and March 2014, the defendants conspired to defraud the United States and violate both the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the statement said.
The Arms Export Control Act prohibits the export or import of defense articles and defense services without first obtaining a license from the U.S. Department of State and is one of the principal export control laws in the United States. Under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, any person seeking to import items designated as defense articles on the United States Munitions Import List is required to obtain a permit to do so from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the department said.
Vibgyor won subcontracts to supply optical components and systems to DOD prime contractors by misrepresenting the manufacture location of the items it supplied, the department said. Bharat Verma falsely claimed the items supplied were manufactured domestically, when they actually had been manufactured in China.
In addition to illegally providing technical data for a military item to China, Urvashi Verma attempted to ship an example of one of the military items to the Chinese manufacturer, the department said.
Both are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate both the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations; one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States — each offense punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment — and one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, the statement said.
The two were also charged with international money laundering, an offense with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $500,000.
The defendants were scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 20.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2015. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)