Aptix founder sentenced to 17 years for perjury, obstruction of justice
In a case that sounds like it could be an episode of Law and Order, U.S. Department of Justice Attorney Kevin V. Ryan for the Northern District of California announced Friday that Amr Mohsen, former founder, chairman and CEO of hardware emulation tool supplier, Aptix Corp., was sentenced to a 204-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release.
Mohsen was initially charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, among other charges. Three days before his trial Mohsen was arrested with an Egyptian passport and $20,000 in cash. While in custody, Mohsen attempted to intimidate witnesses in his trial, including soliciting the arson of a witness' car, according to evidence at trial, a statement from Ryan said.
Mohsen, 59 of Los Gatos, Calif., was convicted by a jury on March 15, 2006 of 17 counts including charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, perjury, subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice, contempt, attempted intimidation of witnesses, and solicitation of the arson of a government witness's car following a two-phase trial. Mohsen was acquitted of the last count in the indictment: solicitation to commit murder of a federal judge, the statement said.
Ryan noted, “The Court’s sentence sends a strong signal that those who would seek to subvert the rule of law in the civil and criminal justice system will be held accountable for their actions.”
The federal case involving Mohsen began when he committed perjury as a witness in a civil patent matter, Aptix Corporation et al. v. QuickTurn Design Systems Inc. which was being heard by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup in federal court in San Francisco.
During the civil case, Mohsen falsely testified about an engineering notebook that would have given him exclusive rights to a patent because he claimed to have invented the technology in question involving "field programmable" circuit boards.
As part of his sentence, Mohsen was ordered to pay restitution to Cadence Design Systems Inc. which had acquired QuickTurn.
Mohsen and his brother Aly Mohsen, 54 of Springfield, Missouri, were first indicted on March 25, 2003, for conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice for testimony given in that civil trial.
The older Mohsen was also indicted for subornation of perjury and for related mail fraud offenses, which had been pending before Judge Alsup and scheduled to go to trial in late March 2004, however, three days before trial, Mohsen was arrested in possession of a newly-issued Egyptian passport in violation of his bail agreement, as well as $20,000 cash.
According to evidence at trial, Mohsen had been overheard by FBI agents making flight reservations for the Cayman Islands, Ryan’s statement noted. On April 20, 2004, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Amr Mohsen adding an additional count for contempt of court in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. 401(3), filed after Mohsen was arrested.
After Mohsen was arrested for contempt, he was ordered detained and placed in custody in Santa Rita jail in Alameda County, California, pending trial.
Evidence at trial showed that while in custody in the Santa Rita jail, Mohsen contracted with a fellow detainee to intimidate witnesses in his trial. With the FBI's assistance, that detainee became an informant for the FBI and recorded conversations with Mohsen. In those conversations, Mohsen solicited the informant's assistance in making intimidating phone calls to witnesses in his case and solicited the arson of a witness' car. Mohsen attempted to intimidate trial witnesses with threatening phone calls warning them not to show up for trial or they will “come up missing.”
Mohsen’s criminal activity from Santa Rita jail culminated with his indictment on the charge of solicitation of the murder of Judge Alsup during the weekend of June 12 and 13, 2004, a charge for which he was found not guilty.
The second defendant, Aly Mohsen, is a medical doctor who owned shares of Aptix. He was charged with conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice based on his participation in the creation of the fabricated engineering notebook and false statements that he made about the notebook as a witness in an evidentiary hearing before Judge Alsup and in a pretrial discovery deposition. On January 24, 2006, Aly Mohsen pleaded guilty to all of the counts against him and was sentenced by The Honorable William B. Shubb to serve 12 months imprisonment on December 8, 2006.
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge William B. Shubb following a guilty plea on seven counts in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371, 18 U.S.C. 1621(1), and 18 U.S.C. 1503.
Judge Shubb also sentenced Mohsen to a three-year period of supervised release and ordered that, during that period of supervised release, Mohsen could not be employed in any job that required him to give court testimony or to provide certified copies of documents on a regular basis.
Further, Judge Shubb imposed a $5,000 fine and ordered Mohsen to pay the victim, Cadence Design Systems, restitution in the amount of $4,536.74.
Mohsen will begin serving the sentence on February 14.
The prosecution was the result of a two-year investigation by agents of the FBI, Ryan’s statement added.
Mentor Graphics Corp. purchased technology assets from Aptix in June 2005 for $1.84 million, according to a filing by Mentor with the Securities and Exchange Commission.