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2 charged with theft, sale of US military technical data over 5 years

Members of the Clovis, N.M., Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics team handcuff a U.S. airman during a hostile threat exercise at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., June 20, 2012. (Airman 1st Class Eboni Reece/U.S. Air Force)

An Orange County man accused of purchasing and reselling military technical data was arrested Wednesday along with a Florida-based Department of Defense employee alleged to have stolen the U.S. Air Force information.

Marc Chavez, 53, of Trabuco Canyon and Sarfraz Yousuf, 43, of Miramar, Florida, have both been charged with a federal count of theft of government property, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors allege that Yousuf, a military contractor and employee of a Miami-based aircraft maintenance company, acquired documents covering the installation, operation, maintenance and handling of Air Force equipment and sold the information to Chavez, who ran LTC Products, a company focused on aerospace data, out of his Orange County home. Chavez, in turn, is accused of reselling the information to his own customers, prosecutors added.

From January 2015 to July 2020, prosecutors allege that Chavez acquired at least 1,875 “technical orders,” and sold them to Chavez for at least $132,280. Yousuf was not authorized to sell the technical data, prosecutors said, and Chavez was not authorized to receive it.

Among the orders cited by prosecutors was one that was reportedly marked “technical data of such military significance that release… may jeopardize an important technological or operational military advantage of the United States.”

If convicted, the two men face up to 10 years in federal prison.

According to court filings, the case involving Chavez and Yousuf is related to an earlier case in which four people were accused of stealing technical drawings and manuals related to military weapon systems and selling the information to Newport Beach-based Newport Aeronautical Sales Corp.

In the course of that investigation, law enforcement officials discovered Air Force technical orders that were allegedly “obtained” by employees from an email account tied to Yousuf.

Mark Fitting, a civilian Navy engineer who worked at a military facility in Philadelphia, has already pleaded guilty to stealing government property and acknowledged re-selling the information to Newport Aeronautical Sales. His written plea deal alleges that Newport Aeronautical Sales then re-sold the documents to domestic and foreign customers.

Three other people — including Costa Mesa residents George Posey IV and Dean Mirabal — are still facing federal charges related to the Newport Aeronautical Sales case. Both men worked for the company, which sells technical aircraft data.


(c) 2021 The Orange County Register

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