Halloween is upon us and many of us, young and old, take advantage of the opportunity to don a disguise and play the age-old game of ‘trick-or-treat’ with our friends and neighbors.

When exporters engage in such tricky behavior however, it can conjure up horrors of a whole other kind.

Attempting to disguise illegal exports can have severe ramifications for transgressors. The government is constantly on the watch for such tricks and invests significant resources towards the identification and punishment of violations. It’s hardly fun and games when you step outside the bounds of export compliance!

Consider these three recent tales of export violation horror:

A Nightmare on Electric Avenue

For our first scary tale of export defiance, we go to Boston where earlier this year a woman was sentenced to prison for her role in illegally exporting electronics with military applications to China. With her now ex-husband, she set up an electronics company in Massachusetts to act as a front for their actual employer, an electronics company in China. Through this venture, they knowingly exported sensitive electronics equipment to China without license and “seriously threatened U.S. national and regional security interests” (Department of Defense). She’ll spend 23 months in federal prison and her ex-husband is a year into his 7 year sentence.

The Pennsylvanian Laboratory of Horror

Our next harrowing tale of export horror takes us to Pennsylvania, where just last month a local entrepreneur pled guilty to the illegal export of laboratory equipment to Syria without proper licenses. The gentleman in question conspired to export the items and attempted to disguise the true nature of the shipments and the purchasers. The government saw through his trick and he was confronted with his monstrous misdeeds. He faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The government knows what this exporter did last summer!

Our last tale of export compliance horror took place in Virginia, where this past summer the owner of a high-tech supply company was sentenced for his role in exporting controlled goods with military and nuclear application to Iran. This shady entrepreneur knew he was violating export law and attempted to hide his malfeasance by repackaging the items in question and then routing his shipments through the United Arab Emirates. But the government saw through his disguises. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and agreed to pay a $50,000 fine as part of his guilty plea.

Contravening export law is a frightening business indeed! The horrors of export violation can occur all year round and the government maintains a constant vigil for transgressions. When you export without license, or in any way attempt to contravene U.S. export law, the consequences can be scary.

For more tales of Export Compliance Horror, click here