DETROIT - A hardware engineer and visiting scholar to the University of Michigan has been indicted in a federal probe and accused of stealing confidential information.
Amin Hasanzadeh, a 42-year-old engineer from Ypsilanti was named in a 14-page complaint filed by the FBI. The former Iranian military veteran is alleged to have copied and sending information to his brother in Iran, who has ties to the country's nuclear weapons industry.
While the company he was copying information from is currently unknown, it's labeled as a metro Detroit defense contractor. Hasanzadeh, who will be in court Friday for a bond hearing apparently started copying confidential information just six days into his job. From there a year-long plan to steal information was set in motion.
According to a 14-page complaint, between January 2015 and June 2016, Hasanzadeh allegedly stole confidential documents and data from his employer and emailed them to his brother, Sina Hasanzadeh in Iran. The employer was not identified but has domestic and international clients in the automotive and aerospace industries. Hasanzadeh served as a senior hardware engineer with access to "highly sensitive confidential" information.
His brother, Sina, proved to have worked with "several Iranian companies that are of proliferation concern," such as Basamad Azma, which is affiliated with Iran's cruise missile research.
"Sina's job responsibilities are indicative of military programs. The Bashir Industrial Complex is an entity that contributes to Iran's proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities and/or its development of nuclear weapons or their delivery systems," the complaint reads.
The documents state even before being employed by the company, Hasanzadeh sent a job description to his brother. The complaint, written by FBI special agent Richard Forban, states: "I believe, based on my training and experience, that Hasanzadeh was sending these emails (prior to employment) to identify that if he was hired as a hardware engineer, he would have access to technologies and projects of interest to Sina and/or Sina's Iranian employers."
Six days after he was hired, the complaint states Hasanzadeh began sending confidential documents and projects to his brother's email account in Iran. These documents included layouts, projects, schematics, notes, zip files, and other documents and data. This happened several more times between 2015-16.
Hassanzadeh is also accused of fraud and misuses of visas by hiding his military affiliation in Iran from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service officials.