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Friday, Aug 29, 2014
Crime & Courts

Prosecutors making progress in computers-to-Iran case

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TAMPA — Federal prosecutors are continuing to expand their case against participants in a plot to illegally sell commercial-grade computer systems to an Iranian company.

The former supervisor of a Tampa-based sales representative who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud has agreed to plead guilty to the same charge, according to documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tampa.

Michael J. Dragoni supervised Randy Dale Barber, the sales representative who previously pleaded guilty.

The first defendant, former city of Tampa engineer Mohammad Reza “Ray” Hajian, pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiring to illegally export to Iran. He was sentenced to four years in prison but later had that reduced by nearly a year because of his cooperation with prosecutors.

Also pleading guilty in the plot was John Alexander Talley, who was hired to service the computer system in Iran after the manufacturer, Hitachi Data Systems, alerted authorities that the company suspected the system had been sold illegally and refused to provide service. Talley is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

In addition to those defendants, a number of corporate entities have entered guilty pleas, including Hajian’s companies, RH Internationa, Nexiant and P & P Computers.

Dragoni’s companies, Greencloud and Fortis Data Systems have also agreed to enter guilty pleas.

The prosecution alleges that Barber and Dragoni each made between $120,000 and $200,000 for their role in the scheme.

Before he was sentenced, Hajian said the computer equipment was intended for a South African cellphone company doing business in Iran. The prosecution says the equipment was powerful and sophisticated. It’s classified as dual use, meaning it could also be used in military applications.

esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

813-259-7837

Twitter: @ElaineTBO

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