LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Daniel F. Willkens, Acting Director, Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Robert E. Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Southeast Field Office, announced today that defendant, Ko-Suen Moo, of Taipei, Taiwan, was sentenced today on charges of being a covert agent of the People’s Republic of China, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 951; conspiracy to broker and to export defense articles to the People’s Republic of China, including one F-16 aircraft engine, Blackhawk helicopter engines, cruise missiles and air-to-air missiles, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 and Title 22, United States Code, Section 2778; and bribery of a public official, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 201(b)(1)(A).
United States District Court Judge Donald Graham sentenced Moo to 78 months’ imprisonment, $1,000,000 fine, three years of supervised release. In addition, he was ordered to forfeit his interest in approximately $350,000 that was seized during the investigation of this case.
United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta stated, “Moo threatened our national security by illegally negotiating the purchase of F-16 and Blackhawk engines, air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground missiles for delivery to the People’s Republic of China. When caught, he tried to undermine our system of justice by attempting to buy his way of jail. Today’s lengthy sentence confirms that American security and justice will not be compromised and are simply not up for sale.”
“Aggressive export enforcement is among ICE’s highest priorities,” said Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ICE investigations in Miami. “Moo’s sentence reflects our commitment to protect our nation by not allowing sensitive U.S. military technology from falling into the wrong hands.”
DCIS Acting Director Daniel F. Willkens said, “The illegal export of U.S. military technology and weapons is one of the most significant and growing threats to our national security. This investigation highlights the achievements of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, in cooperation with Federal law enforcement and intelligence agency partners, in countering these threats. DCIS will continue to relentlessly pursue those who steal and illegally export our sensitive technology, to ensure that America’s Warfighters maintain their tactical and strategic advantage around the world.”
According to in-court statements during the change of plea hearing, since at least February, 2004, Moo and others had been negotiating for the acquisition of numerous defense articles for illegal delivery to the People’s Republic of China. These items included F-16 engines, Blackhawk helicopter engines, air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground missiles. During the negotiations for this equipment, Moo traveled to the United States on two occasions. During one of these trips, Moo actually inspected an F-16 aircraft engine and wire transferred $140,000 to cover transportation fees for the delivery of the F-16 engine to an airstrip located inside the People’s Republic of China.
During the change of plea hearing, prosecutors stated that on numerous occasions during the course of the conspiracy and even after his arrest, Moo told cooperating witnesses that he was an operative working at the direction and control of the People’s Republic of China. He further disclosed that the acquisition of the F-16 engine was to be a test purchase, which if successful, would commence a long term relationship during which Moo, on behalf of the People’s Republic of China, would acquire other items — including Blackhawk helicopter engines and air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. At present, the United States does not sell restrictive military equipment to the People’s Republic of China.
According to documents and statements made in court, after his arrest on the underlying arms charges, Moo engaged in conversation with two inmates at the Federal Detention Center regarding Moo’s ability to bribe his way out of jail and obtain dismissal of the underlying arms charges. Specifically, Moo agreed to pay a bribe to an Assistant United States Attorney and a federal judge for his supposed release from custody and dismissal of the pending charges. Unbeknownst to Moo, however, the two inmates had contacted law enforcement and alerted them to Moo’s plan. This separate obstruction investigation led to the return of a superseding indictment charging Moo with, among other things, bribery of a public official. Moo actually wire transferred $199,985 as part of a $500,000 pay off to an unnamed public official in anticipation of his supposed release and dismissal of the charges.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the ICE and the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Allyson Fritz, Daniel L. Rashbaum, Jacqueline Arango and William Healy, with assistance from the Counterespionage Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.