California couple pleads guilty in illegal exporting scheme

A California couple pleaded guilty this week for shipping night vision scopes overseas without a license, according to the Department of Justice.

Hillsborough residents Naum Morgovsky, 69, and Irina Morgovsky, 66, exported scope components to Russia between April 2012 and August 2016, deliberately evading the Arms Export Control Act and the $2,250 license required for selling firearm parts internationally.

Naum Morgovsky further admitted he laundered $223,000 in proceeds from the exports through the bank account of a deceased teenager, Gary Piper. Piper died in 1969, according to court documents, and Morgovsky used his identity to conduct fraudulent real estate and business transactions for the couple.

Court records show Naum Morgovsky previously served 12 months probation for passport fraud in 2008 after the State Department arrested him for assuming the identity of Joseph Fradel, a deceased man from North Dakota.

A grand jury indicted the couple and their accomplice, 72-year-old Mark Migdal, for violating federal export laws, bank fraud and money laundering in April 2017. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $1 million fine, according to the DOJ. Sentencing is scheduled for September.

Acting U.S. Attorney Alex Tse told the Daily Journal in a statement, “Protecting sensitive technology from unlawful export is crucial to our national security, especially when that technology has military uses.”

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