Military Articles to China
On February 18, 2015, in the Northern District of Illinois, an indictment was made public charging an Arlington Heights company, its president, and a former employee with unlawfully exporting and importing military articles, including components used in night vision systems and on the M1A1 Abrams tank, which is the main battle tank used by the U.S. Armed Forces. The defendants were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on January 14, 2015. Defendant Vibgyor Optical Systems, Inc. purported to manufacture optics and optical systems, including items that were to be supplied to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Instead of manufacturing the items domestically, as it claimed, Vibgyor illegally sent the technical data for, and samples of, the military articles to manufacturers in China, than imported the items from China to sell to its customers – including DOD prime contractors. Vibgyor’s president, Bharat “Victor” Verma, and Urvashi “Sonia” Verma, a former Vibgyor employee and owner of a now-defunct company that operated as a subcontractor for Vibgyor, were also charged in the indictment. According to the indictment, between November 2006 and March 2014, the defendants conspired to defraud the United States and violate both the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Vibgyor won subcontracts to supply optical components and systems to DOD prime contractors by misrepresenting the location of the manufacture of the items it supplied. Bharat Verma falsely claimed that the items Vibgyor supplied were manufactured domestically, when they actually had been manufactured in China, based on information illegally exported to Chinese manufacturers. 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. Vibgyor, 9 Bharat Verma, and Urvashi Verma are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate both the AECA and the ITAR, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and one count of violating the AECA. Vibgyor and Bharat Verma were also charged with international money laundering. This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service.