Defense Contractor Arrested for Selling Satellite Secrets to Undercover Agent Posing as Russian Spy

Gregory Allen Justice, 49, who worked for Boeing Satellite Systems, was arrested for his attempts to sell spy satellite information to a person he believed to be a Russian intelligence officer.

(DOJ) A Culver City, California, man was arrested yesterday on federal charges of economic espionage and violations of the Arms Export Control Act for his attempts to sell sensitive satellite information to a person he believed to be a foreign intelligence agent.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Assistant Director in Charge Deirdre Fike of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Special Agent John Rayho of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Detachment Commander at Los Angeles Air Force Base made the announcement.

Gregory Allen Justice, 49, who worked for a cleared defense contractor as an engineer on military and commercial satellites during his alleged crimes, was arrested yesterday by FBI special agents and made his initial appearance yesterday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  The judge ordered him detained pending trial.

“Mr. Justice allegedly placed his own interests of greed over our national security by providing information on sensitive U.S. technologies to a person whom he believed was a foreign agent,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.

“In the wrong hands, this information could be used to harm the United States and its allies.  The National Security Division will continue to relentlessly identify, pursue and prosecute offenders that threaten our national security.  I would like to thank the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for their efforts in protecting our nation’s most sensitive information.”

“Our nation’s security depends on the honesty and integrity of those entrusted with our technological secrets,” said U.S. Attorney Decker.

“In this case, the defendant sought to undermine our national security by attempting to sell proprietary and controlled information about satellites to a foreign government’s intelligence service.  Fortunately, law enforcement agents were able to timely and effectively intervene to protect this critical technology.”

“The enforcement of U.S. laws that prohibit the acquisition of specified economic information and defense-related items is vital to national security and can prove to be a challenging mission when set against the backdrop of legitimate international trade, vast amounts of which occur every day in the United States,” said Assistant Director in Charge Fike.  “The cooperative effort among the FBI and Air Force OSI was critical in bringing this case forward for prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

“This investigation exemplifies the crucial law enforcement alliance the Air Force Office of Special Investigations enjoys with our DOJ counterparts,” said Special Agent Rayho.  “We remain diligent in our mission to protect the vital technologies our national defense forces rely on.”

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Justice stole proprietary trade secret materials from his employer and provided them to a person whom he believed to be a representative of a foreign intelligence service, but who was in fact an FBI undercover agent.  In addition to their proprietary nature, the documents contained technical data covered by the U.S. Munitions List and therefore controlled for export from the United States under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, according to the allegations.  In exchange for providing these materials, Justice allegedly sought and received cash payments.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

If convicted, Justice faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison for the economic espionage charge and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for violating the Arms Export Control Act.

The FBI and AFOSI investigated the case.  Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California and the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

Download Justice Complaint (pdf)


Selling secrets to the Russians? Jason Bourne fan arrested in spy drama of his own (Los Angeles Times)

Gregory Allen Justice had a sick wife, a job at which he felt unappreciated and a fascination with cinematic secret operatives such as Jason Bourne and James Bond. He had a special love for “The Americans,” the FX series about KGB spies in the United States.

As an engineer on the night shift at a large defense contractor, Justice, 49, of Culver City had access to sensitive technical data about military and commercial satellites, according to federal authorities. He was arrested Thursday on charges that he sold information to a man he believed was an agent of Russian intelligence.

He told the supposed spy — who was really an undercover FBI agent — that he needed money to pay his wife’s mounting medical bills, according to an FBI affidavit. But he sent thousands of dollars — including much of what he got from the FBI — to a mysterious woman in a Long Beach apartment who entreated him for cash and gifts, said the affidavit, which identified her as “C.M.”

From December 2015 to May 2016, the FBI said, Justice sent C.M. more than $21,000 in FedEx envelopes, and over the past year and a half, sent her gifts that included a Dyson fan, a Vizio television, a purse, a blanket and another TV, as well as money for a $900 iPhone, the FBI said.

Now being held without bail in federal custody, Justice could face 15 years in prison if convicted on a charge of economic espionage, plus 20 years on charges of violating the Arms Export Control Act, the government said.

“It’s like getting punched in the stomach,” his father, William Justice, said of the arrest. “He’s a good kid. … I’ve never known him to do anything that was inappropriate.”

Reached by phone in Redding, he said his son’s wife had a variety of health problems, including diabetes and chronic accident-related back pain.

“I think it will look a little different when the facts come out,” he said of the case, but he said he knew few of the details.

The government did not name the defense contractor, but Justice’s father said his son worked for Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo. . . . (read more)


Defense contractor charged with selling satellite secrets to undercover FBI agent posing as Russian spy (Daily Breeze)

In a court filing that reads like an espionage novel, a defense contractor from Culver City with an affinity for Jason Bourne and James Bond has been charged with selling sensitive satellite secrets to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian spy, a federal indictment released Friday alleges.

Gregory Allen Justice, 49, who worked for an unidentified defense contractor as an engineer on military and commercial satellites since 2000, was arrested Thursday. According to a 72-page FBI affidavit, Justice told the undercover agent he could download secret files from his computer onto a “little flash drive” because he needed money to pay his housebound wife’s extensive medical bills.

“I’m so underwater with, with everything right now, that I don’t even know how far,” Justice told the agent at a meeting in a coffee shop Feb. 17.

And while his wife might be legitimately sick, with medical and pharmacy bills totalling nearly $6,000 in two years, the affidavit alleges Justice used some of his proceeds from the undercover agent — and withdrew tens of thousands of dollars from his retirement accounts — to repeatedly send packages of money to a Long Beach woman.

He also sent water bottles filled with the sedative GHB in packages to a location in Compton, the affidavit alleges.

Justice, who told the agent he also loved the television show, “The Americans,” appeared to break bad after 12 years on the night shift, complaining he could not get promoted. He faced a judge Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, where he was held on espionage charges that could send him to prison for up to 35 years. . . .

. . . .  The alleged espionage may have begun as early as 2013, when, according to the FBI agent’s report, Justice’s bank account showed he paid more than $4,000 for online courses from 2013 to 2015 that included “Spy Escape and Evasion,” “Delta Defense,” and “Legally Concealed.”

Justice began a series of meetings in February with the “Russian,” who told Justice he was “very, very important” to his country. During their meetings, Justice — calling himself “Brian” — offered and provided digital copies of secret documents related to satellites. He received $500 to $1,000 at four of those meetings, which continued into April, the affidavit said.

“I can give you access to everything over time,” he told the undercover agent, the affidavit said. “Everything military is on the commercial servers.”

According to the affidavit, FBI investigators examined Justice’s work computers, his activities mailing packages at FedEx, reviewed websites he accessed, checked his bank statements and even bugged his car, listening to him in February rant to himself about his wife.

They also determined with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigation that while some files Justice provided to the agent had no intelligence value, some could have been of interest to an adversary.

In unexplained evidence in the affidavit, the FBI agent outlined how Justice withdrew well over $100,000 from his retirement accounts, and repeatedly sent envelopes filled with hundreds of dollars in cash to a woman in Long Beach. He depicted her on his computer with a photograph of a European model, although that was not her, the affidavit said.

“Hey, so how much this week?” she text-messaged him in February, the document said. . . .(read all)

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