Feb. 19--Federal authorities have seized about $60,000 they believe a former Pratt & Whitney employee received in exchange for attempting to send files to Iran relating to military programs, including the Joint Strike Fighter.
Part of an updated indictment filed Tuesday with U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, the disclosure is the latest development in the case against Mozaffar Khazaee, who allegedly sought to send the files to his brother-in-law in Iran.
Khazaee, 59, was arrested last month at Newark Liberty International Airport on his way to Tehran, Iran. Federal authorities seized the $59,945 days before the flight.
The indictment, which requires that Khazaee forfeit the money he received for the documents if convicted, also added a count of transporting stolen property across state lines from a third, unnamed company. Federal prosecutors had previously charged him with transporting stolen property from Company A, which is Pratt & Whitney, and Company B, the identity of which has not been disclosed by authorities.
As an engineer with Pratt & Whitney, Khazaee conducted strength and durability tests of all of the company's engines. He lost his job in August 2013 when the East Hartford manufacturer laid off hundreds of employees throughout the company.
Pratt, a division of United Technologies Corp., has said it is cooperating with the government's investigation, through it declined to comment on how an employee could steal thousands of the proprietary documents.
Federal authorities said Khazaee left his apartment in Manchester and moved to Indianapolis, where he had lived in 2005.
In October, he shipped boxes filled with a mix of personal property and thousands of sensitive and proprietary blueprints, diagrams and technical manuals relating to military jet engines and other turbines, according to court documents.
The boxes, labeled household goods, traveled by truck to Long Beach, Calif., where they were to be loaded onto the NYK Libra headed ultimately to Iran. In November, customs agents inspected the shipment and found the documents, and days later identified them as belonging to the three separate companies.
The shipment contained documents related to military aircraft engines, including the F-35 Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter and what federal agents referred to as the J136, which could refer to the F136 engine designed, and ultimately not built, by General Electric and Rolls Royce for the F-35.
The case is being investigated by a team of federal law enforcement authorities, including the Customs and Border Protection Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Department of Commerce's Boston Office of Export Enforcement.
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