Grand jury indicts contractor of trying to ship F-35 docs to Iran
A federal grand jury in Bridgeport on Tuesday indicted a former Pratt & Whitney employee with two counts of transporting stolen property across state lines for his alleged attempts to ship proprietary documents to Iran related to the U.S. military's Joint Strike Fighter.
Mozaffar Khazaee, also known as Arash Khazaie, was arrested by federal agents Jan. 9 in Newark traveling to Tehran.
Khazaee, 59, worked on a team of engineers who conduct strength and durability tests on all of the company's engines, according to court documents. In August, Pratt laid him off along with hundreds of others during one of the East Hartford–based company's restructuring efforts.
Court documents allege that Khazaee, after losing his job, packed up boxes of blueprints and schematics and other documents relating to the engine of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, known as the Joint Strike Fighter, and shipped them to Long Beach, Calif. There, waiting for a container ship, federal border agents inspected the container and found the documents.
Meanwhile, Khazaee moved from his apartment in Manchester to Indianapolis, where he had lived earlier and worked for a technical staffing company.
Each count in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000, the U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday. The two indictments cover documents prosecutors allege he stole from Pratt & Whitney and a second company that has not been identified.
Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. company, has said it is fully cooperating with authorities.
Khazaee is being detained pending his transportation to Connecticut and arraignment, which is not yet scheduled.
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.