Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Tennessee Technology Company Pleads Guilty to Arms Export Control Act Violations

KNOXVILLE, TENN.—Atmospheric Glow Technologies Inc. (AGT), a privately-held plasma technology company located in Knoxville, Tenn., pleaded guilty today to ten counts of a federal indictment charging AGT with unlawfully exporting in 2005 and 2006 ten different “defense articles” to a citizen of the People’s Republic of China in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. This law prohibits the export of defense-related materials, including technical data, to a foreign national or a foreign nation without the required U.S. government license.

The illegal exports by AGT charged in the indictment related to technical data and information that was developed through a U.S. Air Force research and development contract. AGT entered the guilty pleas before Judge Thomas Varlan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville.

The maximum punishment for each of these offenses for the corporate defendant is a criminal fine of $1,000,000, a maximum term of five years of probation and a mandatory special assessment of $400. Sentencing has been set for Dec. 8, 2008, at 1:30 p.m., in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

 The U.S. Air Force research contract with AGT related to the development of an unmanned flight vehicle munitions system of the type often referred to as a “drone.” AGT admitted in court to unlawfully exporting to a national of the People’s Republic of China technical information concerning the test results of this research project.

Russ Dedrick, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, stated, “Vigorous enforcement of the laws controlling arms export and trafficking is of the highest priority for the Department of Justice and is part of our duty to protect national security and the nation’s defense system. Both the Indictment and the guilty pleas by AGT reflect the Department’s efforts to combat illegal exports where ever it may happen, whether it is here locally or overseas.”

On May 20, 2008, an 18-count indictment, which included the aforementioned charges, was returned against AGT and Dr. J. Reece Roth, a University of Tennessee Professor, by a federal grand jury sitting in Knoxville. The indictment was the result of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Air Force, Office of Special Investigations, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Mackie and Jeffrey E. Theodore represented the United States.

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