A 69-year-old Hillsborough man was sentenced in federal court in San Francisco Tuesday to nine years in prison for conspiring to export components of night-vision rifles to Russia without a license.
Naum Morgovsky pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in June to conspiring to sell the components between 2012 and 2016 in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of laundering a total of $223,000 in profits from the scheme by using the stolen identity of a dead person.
He was sentenced by Chhabria, who also ordered him to pay a fine of $1 million and forfeit $223,000 plus three night vision devices seized in connection with the investigation.
Morgovsky’s wife, Irina Morgovsky, 67, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and was sentenced by Chhabria last month to one year and six months in prison. Both defendants will begin serving their sentences on Jan. 4.
The couple owned a night vision company in Moscow. According to their 2016 indictment, a co-conspirator at that company would send the pair lists of components needed.
The couple bought the items through their American company, Hitek International, and would send the components either directly to a Moscow employee or to European associates who would hand-carry them to Moscow.
The items included various types of lenses and vision intensifier tubes, according to the indictment.
U.S. Attorney Alex Tse said Tuesday in a statement, “Export controls keep us safe and prevent dangerous technologies from falling into the wrong hands. Today’s nine-year sentence should send a clear message to deter others who are tempted by profits to violate the export laws of this country.”
-By Julia Cheever, Bay City News