PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) –A Pensacola business owner was sentenced Friday to 40 months in prison on federal charges of conspiring to sell and export natural gas generating equipment to a company in Iran, and trying to conceal the scheme.
James P. Meharg, 60, CEO and President of Turbine Resources International, LLC, on Dog Track Road in Pensacola, pleaded guilty in September to violating the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations as well as federal criminal law.
Prosecutors say Meharg conspired from October, 2017, to June, 2019, to violate the Iranian embargo by exporting a Solar Mars 90 S turbine core engine to Dubai, knowing its ultimate destination was Iran. Meharg sent an invoice for $500,000 to a conspirator in the United Kingdom and received approximately $250,000 in funds laundered through foreign accounts as payment.
Law enforcement authorities were able to seize the turbine before its transatlantic journey to the end user, an Iranian energy company. Meharg also falsified documents used to lawfully export items from the United States.
“Exporting technology to Iran is prohibited by law in order to protect the national security interests of the United States of America, and this defendant chose to put his own self-interest and greed above such interests,” United States Attorney Lawrence Keefe, of the Northern District of Florida said. “Federal imprisonment should send a clear signal
that the United States cannot and will not look the other way when one of its citizens endangers the safety of our nation.”
The United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation were involved in the investigation.
Meharg’s prison sentence will be followed by three years of federal supervised release. He was also ordered to forfeit a monetary judgment in the amount of $250,000.00.
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