By Joe Anuta
A Flushing businessman with a history of violating United States shipping regulations was charged last week with surreptitiously sending military-grade equipment to Taiwan and China.
Mark Henry, who went by several aliases including Weida Zheng, Scott Russell and, oddly, Johanna Zhong, was charged in Manhattan federal court last Thursday with violating U.S. export laws, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
“As alleged, Mark Henry shipped sensitive military and dual-use materials in violation of federal laws that seek to prevent such materials from ending up in the wrong hands,” Bharara said. “His arrest today demonstrates, yet again, the seriousness with which law enforcement takes its responsibility to catch and prosecute those who attempt to export prohibited items and materials and to violate trade embargoes.”
The military equipment in question was a protective coating that can be applied to the nozzles of rocket launchers, according to prosecutors. Henry allegedly exported several barrels of the stuff to Taiwan without obtaining a permit from the government, according to authorities.
Henry also sent microwave amplifiers to China without clearing it with the U.S. government, according to prosecutors, who said the amplifiers can have both military and non-military uses and are strictly regulated. Henry ordered them from a Pennsylvania company, telling the outlet the amplifiers would be sent to a New York education company, according to the indictment.
From 2009-12, Henry ran two exporting businesses, Dahua Electronics and Bao An Corp., both registered to residential addresses in Flushing, and he used those companies to facilitate the shipping of the materials, according to Bharara.
If convicted, Henry faces a maximum sentence of 45 years behind bars. On top of that, federal prosecutors want to seize any property or assets purchased with the profits obtained from these transactions, according to court documents.
The export of military-grade materials is regulated under several federal laws, including the Arms Export Control Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. While Henry is accused this time around, he pleaded guilty in 2008 to a similar federal offense.
According to documents from Brooklyn federal court, Henry was sentenced to two years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to shipping cans of a flammable chemical solvent via state or foreign commerce without labeling it as such, which constitutes a felony.
Former neighbors of the business-owner said Henry is a Chinese-speaking American citizen who at one point anglicized his name in lieu of his given Chinese moniker. He once rented one floor in a residential home in Flushing and during his 2008 court proceedings required a Mandarin translator, court records show.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.