Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Michael J. Garcia announced today that a civil penalty of $115,000 and a five-year denial of export privileges will be imposed on Maria Elena Ibanez of Miami, Florida. Ibanez agreed to the penalty to settle charges that she caused, aided, and abetted violations of the Export Administration Regulations by International High Tech Marketing (IHTM), a firm that she previously operated.
The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) alleged that, on 265 occasions between May 1996 and September 1998, Ibanez caused, aided, and abetted IHTM in various export control violations, including improperly avoiding the requirement to file Shipper's Export Declarations (SEDs) by understating values on commercial invoices, submitting falsified SEDs to the U.S. Government, and supplying its freight forwarder with undervalued commercial invoices that were used by the freight forwarder to prepare inaccurate SEDs and air waybills.
In March 2002, a U.S. District Court judge in Miami placed Ibanez on probation for 18 months and fined her $5,000 for conspiring to falsify commercial invoices. The five-year denial period for Ibanez imposed by the Department of Commerce will be suspended provided Ibanez does not commit any violations during the five- year period.
Previously, in March 2000, IHTM pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Miami to five counts of export violations in connection with exports to Libya and Sudan and providing false information on commercial invoices. IHTM was fined $250,000 for these violations. IHTM is no longer in business.
"This case is an excellent example of our commitment to hold accountable those who file false export information with the U.S. Government." Assistant Secretary Garcia stated.
The Department of Commerce, through its Bureau of Industry and Security, administers and enforces export controls for reasons of national security, foreign policy, anti-terrorism, nonproliferation and short supply. Criminal penalties and administrative sanctions can be imposed for violations of the Export Administration Regulations.
Assistant Secretary Garcia commended Special Agents Thalia Mercer and Gordon Pomeroy of BIS's Miami Field Office who investigated the case.