Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Physicist Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Violate the Arms Export Control Act

KNOXVILLE, TENN. – On April15, 2008, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, James R. Dedrick, and Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Patrick Rowan, announced that Daniel Max Sherman pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. Section 2778), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Sherman, 37, formerly of Knoxville, currently resides in Littleton, Colorado. He is a physicist who formerly worked at Atmospheric Glow Technologies, Incorporated, a Knoxville-based technology company.

According to the information and plea agreement, between January 2004 and May 2006, Sherman, J. Reece Roth, a Professor Emeritus at The University of Tennessee, and Atmospheric Glow Technologies, Inc., engaged in a conspiracy to transmit export controlled technical data related to a restricted United States Air Force contract to develop plasma actuators for a munitions-type Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or “drones,” to a foreign national from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese national was a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee was victimized by the conspirators and cooperated throughout with the FBI led investigation.

According to United States Attorney James R. Dedrick, the violation caries a maximum possible penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000.00 fine. “A top priority of the Department of Justice and this District is protect our national security and to protect our technology from disclosure to foreign governments,” according to United States Attorney Dedrick.

“Knowingly disclosing restricted U.S. military data to foreign nationals represents a very real threat to our national security, particularly when we know that foreign governments are actively seeking this information for their military development,” said Patrick Rowan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

These investigations were jointly conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and the Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Theodore and Will Mackie of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

For additional information, please contact United States Attorney Russ Dedrick, 865-545-4167, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey E. Theodore, 865-545-4167, Assistant U.S. Attorney A. William Mackie, 865-545-4167, or Public Information Officer Sharry Dedman-Beard, 865-545-4167.