NEWARK, NJ - Joyce Eliabachus, a/k/a/ Joyce Marie Gundran Manangan of Morristown admitted her role in a scheme to illegally smuggle millions of dollars' worth of aircraft parts from the U.S. to Iran, announced U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
According to a previous announcement by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eliabachus was arrested at her home on April 24 and charged with smuggling over $2 million worth of aircraft components. In front of U.S. District Judge madeline Cox Arleo on June 11, she pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) in connection with her role in an international procurement network that smuggled over $2 million worth of aircraft components to Iran.
The count of conspiracy to violate IEEPA, to which Eliabachus pleaded guilty, carries a maximum potential of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 24, 2019.
According to the complaint:
Eliabachus – the principal officer and operator of Edsun Equipments LLC, a purported New Jersey-based aviation parts trading company run out of her Morristown residence – is allegedly part of a sophisticated procurement network that has secretly acquired large quantities of license-controlled aircraft components from U.S. manufacturers and vendors, and exported those parts to Iran through freight-forwarding companies located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey, in violation of U.S. export control laws.
From May 2015 through October 2017, Eliabachus and her conspirators facilitated at least 49 shipments containing a total of approximately 23,554 license-controlled aircraft parts from the U.S. to Iran, all of which were exported without the required licenses.
Eliabachus conspired with the owner of an Iranian-based procurement firm, identified in the complaint as “CC-1,” whose international network helped initiate the purchase of U.S.-origin aircraft components on behalf of CC-1’s clients in Iran. The network’s client list was comprised of Iranian airline companies, several of which have been officially designated by the U.S. government as posing a threat to the country’s national security, foreign policy, or economic interests, including Mahan Air Co., Caspian Airlines, and Kish Air, among others.
Using Edsun Equipment in New Jersey, Eliabachus finalized the purchase and acquisition of the requested components from the various U.S.-based distributors. She then re-packaged and shipped the components to shipping companies in the UAE and Turkey, including Parthia Cargo and Reibel Tasimacilik Ve Tic A.S., where her Iranian conspirators directed trans-shipment of the components to locations in Iran.
In order to obscure the extent of the network’s procurement activities, Eliabachus routinely falsified the true destination and end-user of the aircraft components she acquired. She also falsified the true value of the components being exported in order to evade the necessity of filing export control forms, which further obscured the network’s illegal activities from law enforcement.
The funds for the illicit transactions were obtained from the various Iranian purchasers, funneled through Turkish bank accounts held in the names of various shell companies controlled by the Iranian conspirators, and ultimately transferred into one of Edsun Equipments’ U.S.-based accounts. The network’s creation and use of multiple bank accounts and shell companies abroad was intended to conceal the true sources of funds in Iran, as well as the identities of the various Iranian entities who were receiving U.S. aircraft components.
“Eliabachus and others allegedly ran an international smuggling ring that shipped $2 million in aircraft parts to multiple Iranian airlines, including an airline that has provided financial, material, and technological support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “This arrest, which was made possible by a close collaboration between our office and its partners at Homeland Security Investigations and the Office of Export Enforcement, has snuffed out another source of funds and goods to overseas entities that may endanger our national and economic security.”
“Today’s action is the result of outstanding collaborative efforts by the Office of Export Enforcement, the Justice Department, and Homeland Security Investigations,” Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson of the Office of Export Enforcement said. “This arrest will cut-off a key supplier to a proliferation network which illegally sold U.S. origin items to Iran. Violations such as these jeopardize national security and undermine U.S. foreign policy. We will continue to vigorously pursue violators wherever they may be.”
“For over two years, Eliabachus illegally engaged in aircraft component sales to Iran, a nation listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Brian Michael, HSI Newark Special Agent in Charge, said. “This potentially endangered U.S. security, particularly as one of the Iranian companies sold to does business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a military unit tied to terrorist acts around the world. As protectors of the homeland, HSI is proud to have worked with other government agencies to have exposed this dangerous network.”
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