AP: Two Louisiana businessmen who plotted to defy a U.S. trade embargo by exporting engineering software to Iran avoided prison Thursday when a federal judge ordered them to serve several months in a halfway house.
The Associated Press
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two Louisiana businessmen who plotted to defy a U.S. trade embargo by exporting engineering software to Iran avoided prison Thursday when a federal judge ordered them to serve several months in a halfway house.
James Angehr, 71, of Kenner, and John Fowler, 69, of Metairie, had faced up to five years in prison after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in April.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk ordered Angehr to serve six months in a halfway house and Fowler to spend four months in the same facility. Africk said he spared them prison time because they were remorseful and cooperated with the government.
The judge also ordered each of them to pay a $250,000 fine — within seven days — plus an additional $218,583 in forfeiture. Both were sentenced to five years probation.
Angehr and Fowler are co-owners of Engineering Dynamics Incorporated in Kenner, which makes engineering software used to design offshore oil and gas structures.
Prosecutors say the businessmen transferred ownership of EDI's software to a Brazilian business agent, Nelson Galgoul, so that it could ostensibly be sold in Iran as a Brazilian product. However, EDI received most of the profits from Galgoul's sales in Iran, prosecutors said.
Galgoul pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last year and was sentenced in May to 13 months in prison.
Africk called it "mind-boggling" that Angehr and Fowler jeopardized their "storybook lives."
Angehr and Fowler both apologized for their actions.
"I truly love my country and my family very deeply, but I did act very selfishly without regard for them," said Angehr, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Richard Westling, Fowler's attorney, said his client and Angehr was in the process of reporting the company's Iranian activities to the Treasury Department when a third EDI co-owner, David Garland, reported the allegations to federal prosecutors. Garland wasn't charged in the case.
"This is like a stain that will never go away," Westling said before Africk sentenced his client. "He will live with it until the day he dies."