CRIME: Two South Florida Residents Convicted Of Illegally Exporting Controlled Products To Libya

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Yesterday, two Florida residents were sentenced for illegally trying to and conspiring to export controlled goods to Libya. After a one-week jury trial,

Peter Sotis of Delray Beach and Emilie Voissem from Sunrise were convicted in October 2021. Sotis was sentenced 57 months imprisonment, while Voissem received a split sentence consisting of five months in jail and five months home confinement.

According to court documents, the charges stemmed from the illegal export of rebreather dive equipment to Libya in August 2016. The rebreathers allow a diver to go unnoticed underwater for long periods of times by producing very few bubbles and efficiently recirculating the diver’s breath after replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen. Rebreathers are dual-use, having both civilian and military uses. They are included on the Commerce Control List. This is the list of dual-use items that are licensed and export controlled by the U.S. Department of Commerce. If the rebreathers will be exported to countries that have national security concerns (like Libya), they must have a Commerce Department license.

Sotis was the 80% proprietor of Add Helium. Voissem was Add Helium’s office manager. Add Helium is a Fort Lauderdale-based diving equipment and training firm. After being warned by a DOC special agent, the defendants attempted to export items to Libya. Ramas LLC in Virginia was misled by the defendants regarding what the DOC agent told them. Also, whether the rebreathers were for military purposes. Witnesses at the trial showed that Sotis threatened to stop a government witness from cooperating with the federal investigation.

Assistant attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of Justice Department’s National Security Division; U.S. Assistant Juan Antonio Gonzalez for Southern District of Florida; Special agent in charge Ariel Joshua Leinwand of DOC’s Office of Export Enforcement Miami Office; and Anthony Salisbury, Special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Miami Office made this announcement.

DOC and HSI conducted an investigation into the case, with the valuable assistance of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

This case was prosecuted in the U.S. Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida prosecuted the case. Trial Attorney Nathan Swinton of National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section represented Nathan Swinton.

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