US man faces 25 years US jail term for travelling to Cuba

News from Cuba | Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Marc Verzani charged with violating Trading With the Enemy Act, witness tampering and obstruction of justice

A Scarsdale lawyer has been accused of taking an illegal business trip to Cuba in violation of the U.S.'s embargo against the island.

Marc Verzani, 45, of Claremont Road, Scarsdale, and Adem Arici, 49, of Brooklyn were arrested by federal agents on Thursday and charged with conspiring to violate the federal Trading With the Enemy Act and witness tampering, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Veranzi received an additional charge of obstruction of justice.

According to reports, Verzani flew to Cuba for five days in September, where he met with Arici and engaged in business interactions. The two men allegedly examined real estate properties for potential purchase and also spent money in Cuba, which is illegal by U.S. law.

Agents said that Verzani, and a third party traveled to Cancun before flying to Cuba to meet up with Arici on Sept. 8. After staying in Cuba for five days, Verzani and the unidentified third party returned to the U.S., where Verzani lied on declaration papers, claiming that he had only been to Mexico.

Verzani allegedly also lied about his trip to Cuba during an Oct. 11 hearing in federal court during an unrelated case.

"As alleged, these defendants were prepared to place their business interests before compliance with a clearly established trade embargo with Cuba," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated. "They then allegedly engaged in a cover-up, which underscores the fact that their conduct was illegal. They will now be held accountable for their crimes."

Verzani faces up to 25 years in prison, and Arici, 15 years.

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