A Madison County man faces up to 40 years in prison after being arrested in connection with an illegal scheme to export goods from the United States to Iran.

Ray Hunt, 69, was indicted on 15 counts of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., sanctions violations, smuggling goods from the United States and submitting false or misleading export information.

According to the indictment, the federal offenses were discovered as part of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Division.

“[S]ince at least November 2017, the defendant conspired to export U.S.-origin parts used in the oil and gas industry, including control valves and oil tubing, through his Alabama-based company, Vega Tools LLC, to customers in Iran,” U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama stated in a press release. “The defendant transshipped the goods to Iran through Turkey and the UAE to evade U.S. sanctions.”

Hunt was arrested and made his initial court appearance on Tuesday. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine for violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. In addition, he faces up to five years for the conspiracy charge, 10 years for the smuggling offense, and up to five years for the false information offense.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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