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Utah man pleads guilty to money laundering

A Utah man who participated in a scheme to illegally import magnesium from China has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and was sentenced to two years probation by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

Eldon Bott, 67, of Brigham City, Utah also was ordered to forfeit $55,660 and fined $5,000.

The crime reportedly dates back to 2003, when Bott and Gregory Magness of Pennsylvania arranged to supply magnesium to a military contractor for the production of countermeasure flares, which would be used by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo. The flares are used to divert heat-seeking weapons and protect pilots.

At the time, Defense Department regulations said that the magnesium could not be from a foreign source. Knowing that his product contained atomized magnesium from China, Bott reportedly falsified certificates to misrepresent the source.

Bott, Magness, his son Justin Magness, William Nehill and Charles Wright were charged in 2010 with participating in a conspiracy to illegally import Chinese magnesium into the United States. All defendants now stand convicted.