Man who sold computers to Iran pleads guilty

A business owner has pleaded guilty to illegally sending computers to Iran through the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

In addition, in a federal courtroom his business partner also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges, according to the DOJ.

Massoud Habibion, 49, a co-owner of Costa Mesa-based Online Micro, faces up to five years in prison. Mohsen Motamedian, 44, also an Online Micro co-owner, faces up to 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charges.

The men were arrested April 7 and indicted April 21, according to federal authorities.

Online Micro first came to the attention of authorities around May 2007, after Dell employees began receiving calls for service from Iranians with Dell products. After an investigation, Dell suspended Online Micro from further purchases, authorities said.

Between November 2009 and December 2010, authorities believe Habibion and Online Micro conspired with a Dubai- and Tehran-based company in sending computer products from the U.S. to Iran via the UAE. Authorities believe Habibion sent about $4.9 million worth of computer goods, with the majority of them destined for Iran.

Habibion and Online Micro were denied export privileges for 10 years.

Sentencing for both men is scheduled for May 16.

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