PHILADELPHIA–Ali Amirnazmi, 66, of Berwyn, PA, was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for his February 13, 2009 conviction on one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), three counts of violating IEEPA, three counts of making false statements to federal officials, and three counts of bank fraud, announced United States Attorney Michael L. Levy. The IEEPA makes it a crime to willfully violate U.S. sanctions on designated countries (including Iran).
Amirnazmi, a citizen of both the United States and Iran, participated in illegal business transactions with Iran between approximately 1996 and July 2008. Amirnazmi also engaged in investments with companies located in Iran, including companies controlled in whole or in part by the Government of Iran, all of which are prohibited under U.S. government sanctions. The jury convicted Amirnazmi of lying to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the FBI, and the IRS about business deals with Iran in an attempt to cover up that illegal activity. Amirnazmi also lied to Wachovia and Penn Liberty banks by submitting fake tax returns indicating financial health he did not have, in order to secure loans for which he would not have qualified.
“As recent headlines remind us, Iran is not a friend of the United States,” said Levy. “Our government imposes trade sanctions against other countries as part of our foreign policy and self-defense. The defendant’s actions were done intentionally and in direct violation of the laws of his adopted country. The government will prosecute those who place loyalty to money over loyalty to their country.”
“The IEEPA was created to help the United States protect itself against those individuals and countries who would seek to harm the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk, of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI, “and Mr. Amirnazmi chose to willfully violate this law for his own benefit and then lie about his activities once discovered. The FBI and our partners are firmly committed to protecting the United States by rooting out those who seek to provide support or assistance to our enemies.”
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates the importance of enforcing sanctions against embargoed nations, such as Iran,” said Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Don Fort. “IRS, Criminal Investigation will continue to utilize our financial expertise to follow the money trail and aggressively investigate individuals who commit crimes against the United States.”
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe ordered Amirnazmi to pay restitution to Penn Liberty Bank of $17,277.37, to serve five years on supervised release and to forfeit $81,277.37.