Irvine Man Faces Prison for Plot to Ship Sensitive Military Paint to Asia

An Orange County businessman tried to ship sensitive U.S. military-grade products to a foreign nation and now faces a maximum 5-year prison term, a $250,000 fine and supervised probation for three years.

Federal prosecutors in Santa Ana this month filed a one-count charge against Jay Soh for lying in Feb. 2017 about his illegal plans to an inquiring U.S. Department of Homeland Security special agent.

Soh acknowledged his pre-trial guilt inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, a move that will likely reduce the punishment eventually delivered by U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter, a no-nonsense Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War’s brutal 1968 battle at Khe Sanh.

The plot began in 2016 when Soh contacted a Massachusetts company to obtain 24 kits of paint—”MIL-PAINT”—created “for military equipment with infrared and ultraviolet camouflaging capabilities and resistance to chemical agents,” according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Takla, who is stationed in his agency’s Terrorism and Export Crimes Section.

Though the special paint had been placed on the United States Munitions List requiring government-approved licenses for foreign export, Soh repeatedly claimed the ultimate recipient would be an American, bypassed the licensing requirement and tried to ship the product to South Korea.

“The defendant acted willfully, deliberately and with knowledge that his statements were untrue,” according to the guilty plea.

The next hearing for Soh, who was born in 1959 and resides in Irvine, has not yet been scheduled.

R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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