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Case Number: 1:20-cr-00154-LM
Court: United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire (Merrimack County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office
Description: Concord, New Hampshire criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant indicted for making false statements to a federal agent.
Stela Sacara, 34, a citizen of Moldova residing in Pembroke, operated several companies from her home and office, including Rochester Chemical LLC, which she ran with her sister, Natalia. Rochester Chemical acquired consumable laboratory equipment and repackaged and shipped it abroad. The Office of Export and Enforcement (OEE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the activities of Sacara and Rochester Chemical, and others associated with them, to determine whether the exports were being made in compliance with federal laws and regulations.
On September 14, 2018, Sacara was interviewed by federal agents and falsely stated the manager of Rochester Chemical was Amy Johnson. Company emails further showed that Sacara and/or Natalia used the Amy Johnson alias periodically. There is no record of the company ever employing “Amy Johnson.” Johnson does not exist. The sole principals of the company are Sacara and her sister, Natalia.
“Lying to federal investigators is a serious crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Farley. “By providing false information, this defendant sought to mislead federal agents who were conducting an investigation. This conviction should serve as an important reminder that those who lie to federal agents face serious criminal consequences for their unlawful actions.”
“Stela Sacara deliberately lied to federal agents to conceal the extent of her involvement in the business operations of Rochester Chemical and ultimately, who was on the receiving end of their shipments. Not only did her actions cause our investigators to waste time and energy attempting to locate individuals who do not exist, but she tried to impede our investigation into whether the company was violating our export laws. This case should serve as a warning to others that it is never a good idea to lie to federal agents and there will be significant consequences if you do,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
This matter was investigated by the Office of Export and Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Davis.
False Statements to Federal Agents, 18 U.S.C. Section 1001, which provides:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party's counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.
Outcome: Defendant pleaded guilty