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Defense Contractor Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Money Laundering, and Unlawful Export of Military Data

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
May 8, 2024

Yuksel Senbol, 36, of Orlando, pleaded guilty to 25 felony counts in Florida federal court, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, seven counts of money laundering, conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA), four counts of violating the ECRA, and one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act.

According to court documents, beginning in approximately April 2019, Senbol operated a front company in the Middle District of Florida called Mason Engineering Parts LLC. She used this front company to assist her co-conspirators, Mehmet Ozcan and Onur Simsek, to fraudulently procure contracts to supply critical military components to the Department of Defense. These components were intended for use in the U.S. Navy Nimitz and Ford Class Aircraft Carriers, U.S. Navy Submarines, U.S. Marine Corps Armored Vehicles, and U.S. Army M-60 Series Tank and Abrahams Battle Tanks, among other weapons systems.

To fraudulently procure the government contracts, Senbol and her co-conspirators falsely represented to the U.S. government and to U.S. military contractors that Mason Engineering Parts LLC was a vetted and qualified manufacturer of military components, when in fact, the parts were being manufactured by Ozcan and Simsek in Turkey. And, as Senbol knew, Simsek’s involvement had to be concealed from the U.S. government because he had been debarred from contracting with the U.S. government after being convicted of a nearly identical scheme in the Southern District of Florida.

In order to enable Ozcan and Simsek to manufacture the components in Turkey, Senbol assisted them in obtaining sensitive, export-controlled drawings of critical U.S. military technology. Using software that allowed Ozcan to remotely control her computer – and thus evade security restrictions that limited access to these sensitive military drawings to computers within the United States – Senbol knowingly facilitated the illegal export of these drawings. She did so despite having executed numerous agreements promising to safeguard the drawings from unlawful access or export, and despite the clear warnings on the face of each drawing that it could not be exported without obtaining a license.

Once Ozcan and Simsek manufactured the components in Turkey, they shipped them to Senbol, who repackaged them – making sure to remove any reference to their Turkish origin. The conspirators then lied about the origin of the parts to the U.S. government and a U.S. government contractor to receive payment for the parts. Senbol then laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in criminal proceeds back to Turkey through international wire transfers.

This scheme continued until uncovered and disrupted by federal investigators. Parts supplied by Senbol were tested by the U.S. military and were determined not to conform with product specifications. Many of the components supplied to the U.S. military by Senbol were “critical application items,” meaning that failure of these components would have potentially rendered the end system inoperable.

Senbol faces up to 10 years in prison for the conspiracy to defraud the United States offense and for each count of money laundering. She faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to violate the ECRA, violating the ECRA and violating the Arms Export Control Act. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 6. Alleged co-conspirators Mehmet Ozcan and Onur Simsek are fugitives.

This case was investigated by the FBI; General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General; Defense Criminal Investigative Service; Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security; Air Force Office of Special Investigations; Homeland Security Investigations; and Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel J. Marcet and Lindsey Schmidt for the Middle District of Florida, and Trial Attorney Stephen Marzen of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.


Source: U.S. Department of Justice press release