Defense Contractor Employee and O.C. Man Arrested on Complaint Alleging Theft and Sale of Government-Owned Technical Orders
SANTA ANA, CA (STL.News) Law enforcement today arrested an employee of a Department of Defense contractor on a criminal complaint alleging he unlawfully sold United States Air Force technical data to an Orange County man who then illegally resold the data to customers.
Sarfraz Yousuf, 43, of Miramar, Florida, was taken into federal custody this morning. Also arrested today was Marc Chavez, 53, of Trabuco Canyon.
Yousuf is expected to make his initial appearance in United States District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Chavez is expected to appear in federal court in Santa Ana. Each man is charged with one count of theft of government property.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, during an investigation into a U.S. Navy employee’s unlawful sale of government-controlled technical drawings to a Newport Beach-based company, Newport Aeronautical Sales Corp. (NASC), law enforcement discovered NASC also illegally obtained U.S. Air Force technical orders from the users of an email account used by Yousuf, an employee of Summit Aerospace Inc., a Miami-based aircraft maintenance company.
The technical orders at issue in this case are documents that cover installation, operation, maintenance, and handling of Air Force equipment and material, according to the affidavit.
During the investigation, law enforcement also discovered Chavez illegally acquired Air Force technical orders from Yousuf on behalf of LTC Products, a Trabuco Canyon-based company selling technical aerospace data that Chavez ran out of his home, the affidavit states.
From January 2015 to July 2020, Chavez allegedly unlawfully acquired at least 1,875 Air Force technical orders from Yousuf in exchange for at least $132,280. Yousuf was not authorized to sell the technical orders and Chavez was not authorized to receive them.
In June 2020, Yousuf allegedly sold 34 Air Force technical orders to Chavez, including one marked with a distribution statement reserved for “technical data of such military significance that release…may jeopardize an important technological or operational military advantage of the United States” and containing overhaul instructions related to a “Rate Gyro Assembly Flight Control,” for $2,170. Chavez allegedly resold the orders to customers for a profit.
If convicted, the defendants would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a related case, Mark Fitting, 54, of Berlin, New Jersey, an engineer employed by the Navy at a facility in Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in December 2020 to one count of conspiracy to steal government property and one count of aiding and abetting the theft of government property. Fitting admitted in his plea agreement that he downloaded technical drawings and manuals related to U.S. military weapons systems and sold the items to NASC, which later resold the documents to domestic and foreign customers. Fitting’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 18 in Santa Ana.
This case is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Homeland Security Investigations; the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement; U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Assistant United States Attorney Keith D. Ellison of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section is prosecuting this case.