A Roswell businessman was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison for conspiring to sell precision cutting equipment to Iran in violation of a U.S. trade embargo.
Mark Mason Alexander, 53, also known as Musa Mahmood Ahmed, was found guilty in September of conspiring with two Iranian businessmen to sell the equipment between October 2006 and June 2008.
The U.S. has imposed a series of restrictions and economic sanctions against Iran since 1979, following the country’s seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and U.S. citizens as hostages. The Iran Sanctions Act authorizes sanctions on businesses or individuals engaging in commercial transactions in Iran.
“The trade embargo against the Islamic Republic of Iran is not limited to those who specifically seek to supply the country with military items or with items for use in its nuclear weapon proliferation program,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in reaction to Alexander’s sentencing on Monday. “Rather, businesses and individuals who engage in commercial transactions with businesses and individuals in the Islamic Republic of Iran are cautioned that they are still subject to prosecution under existing sanctions.”
Prosecutors said Alexander helped orchestrate the sale of water-jet cutting systems from Dalton-based manufacturer Hydrajet Technology, a company he partly owned. The equipment is used for precision cutting of aluminum, glass, granite, steel and other materials.
The machines were distributed in the Middle East by another company Alexander partly owned and led as chief executive officer, Hydrajet Mena, which was based in the United Arab Emirates.
Prosecutors said Alexander negotiated the sale of two machines to Iranian companies in 2007. He also sent employees to help install and train Iranian workers on the equipment, prosecutors said.