Thursday, January 13, 2011
Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee
EAST TENNESSEE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGALLY EXPORTING BULLET PROOF VESTS
KNOXVILLE, Tenn– Jerome Stewart Pendzich, 34, of Hampton, Tenn., pleaded guilty today in United States District Court, to knowingly exporting a defense article without a license or approval from the State Department. This is a violation of the Arms Export Control Act, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine and three years supervised release. Sentencing has been set for May 5, 2011, in United States District Court in Knoxville, before the Honorable Thomas W. Phillips.
According to the information and plea agreement, in January 2009, special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) became aware that Pendzich was attempting to sell a certain type of bullet-proof vest on E-bay that is prohibited from export by law. Further investigation revealed that on May 28 and June 19, 2009, he attempted to ship export controlled small arms protective inserts (SAPI plates) to Bogota, Columbia, South America. Pendzich had previously been advised by his supplier that an export license from the U.S. Department of State was required before he could attempt to send the SAPI plates overseas.
This investigation was conducted by ICE. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Theodore represented the United States.