Mid-May 2021, we saw the second batch of arrests associated with the theft and sale of government controlled information by insiders with access, to others, both foreign and domestic, who were not authorized to receive these documents.
Sarfraz Yousef and Marc Chavez comprised the second group of individuals associated with the marketing of these sensitive documents. In September 2020, the first group of criminals, Mark Fitting, Melony Erice, George Posey IV, and Dean MIrabal were arrested for the unauthorized sale and sharing of Naval and ITAR controlled documents.
Interestingly, it was the investigation of these four which pointed the finger of justice at Yousef and Chavez.
The finger of the law points to insiders Yousef and Chavez
Yousef was an employee for Summit Aerospace, and appears to have had legitimate access to the Air Force technical orders (TO). By way of background, TOs “provides clear and concise instructions for the safe and effective operation and maintenance of centrally-acquired and managed Air Force military systems and end items.”
Chavez worked for Newport Aeronautical Sales Corp (NASC), to which both Posey and Mirabel were also associated. NASC illegally obtained Navy documents and investigators noted that during their investigation, they discovered a Gmail account associated with Yousef who was sharing Air Force documents with NASC, via Chavez.
Court documents allege that Chavez, had his own company on the side, and the illegal acquisition of the Air Force TOs were made on behalf of this company, LTC Products. LTC Products, according to the California Secretary of State was formed in August 2005 by Chavez and as of May 2021, its paperwork is current.
What was compromised?
Yousef provided some 1,875 documents from January 2015 through July 2020. Included within this trove of documents were were what the government characterized as “technical data of such military significance that release…may jeopardize an important technological or operational military advantage of the United States.” It was a business and for a while, crime did pay. Yousef was paid $132,280 by Chavez over the course of the 4.5 years of nefarious collaboration.
What would Chavez do with these documents he bought from Yousef? He sold them at a profit to others.
Interestingly, Fitting, pleaded guilty in December 2020 to the acquisition sale of government documents to NASC. He is due to be sentenced in October 2021.
The court documents don’t tell us what, if any sanctions will be landing at Newport Aeronautical Sales door. A quick review of their website indicates that their aviation library is up and operating, including the ability to conduct “Technical Order” searches. The site does, however, include an advisory which states, “Newport Aeronautical fully complies with all U.S. export control regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The technical data offered is intended for direct military support and data is not released to the public.” It remains to be seen, what, if any penalty NASC may receive given three individuals associated with them were marketing TOs.
Yousef and Chavez each face up to 10-years in prison.