By Ed Payne
(CNN) — An engineer who worked for U.S. defense contractors has been charged with trying to ship restricted military documents to Iran, the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut said.
The documents included material related to the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program as well as military jet engines
Mozaffar Khazaee, a naturalized U.S. citizen who also holds Iranian citizenship, was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport last week before he could board a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. His ultimate destination was Tehran, Iran.
The 59-year-old engineer is accused of “transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion, or fraud.”
If convicted, Khazaee, who became an American citizen in 1991, could serve up to 10 years in prison and pay a fine of up to $250,000.
Documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut say investigators intercepted a shipment bound for Iran that contained 44 boxes of items marked as “House Hold Goods”
In the boxes, investigators “discovered thousands of pages contained in dozens of manuals/binders relating to the JSF program,” including technical specifications, diagrams and blueprints detailing the inner workings of the jet’s engine.
Khazaee last worked for a defense contractor in August. The documents did not name his previous employers, instead referring to them as “Company A,” “Company B” and “Company C.”
Jonathan Helman contributed to this report.
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