Chicago, Illinois - A southern California businessman was sentenced Wednesday to one year and one day in prison for illegally brokering the sales of embargoed defense articles from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and filing a false corporate tax return.

According to court documents, Tuqiang Xie, aka Tony Xie, 60, of Irvine, pleaded guilty in 2019 to one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act and one count of filing a false tax return. Xie admitted in a plea agreement that through his company, Bio-Medical Optics LLC in Irvine, California, he served as a broker for the shipment of defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List (USML) and the U.S. Munitions Import List (USMIL). The items on these lists are regulated components and systems used in U.S. military equipment. Federal law requires that individuals involved in the business of manufacturing or exporting defense articles must obtain a license and register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) at the Department of State. Xie never obtained a license or registered with the DDTC. Moreover, the United States since 1989 has imposed an arms embargo on the PRC, restricting imports or exports of arms between the two countries.

Despite the arms embargo and the lack of a license or registration, Xie admitted in his plea agreement that in 2014 and 2015, he located a manufacturer in the PRC to produce defense articles for one of his clients. Over time, Xie earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions or fees based on his role in shipments to and from the PRC.

Xie also pleaded guilty to filing a false corporate tax return for Bio-Medical Optics LLC for 2013. Xie admitted in the plea agreement that he also filed false corporate tax returns for Bio-Medical Optics LLC for 2009 through 2012, causing a total tax loss to the IRS of more than $100,000.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. for the Northern District of Illinois; Special Agent-in-Charge Angie Salazar of Homeland Security Investigations, Chicago Office; and the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Central Field Office made the announcement. 

Trial Attorney Matthew R. Hoffman of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur for the Northern District of Illinois prosecuted the case.