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Press Release

Middlesex County Man Admits Participation in Conspiracy to Illegally Export Firearms and Other Items to Ukraine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – An Edison, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to export, without a license, firearms and other items subject to the export control list, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Gene Shilman, 62, a native of the Soviet Union, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the Export Control Reform Act.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From May 2014 through October 2018, Shilman entered into a conspiracy that included a conspirator living in Ukraine. Shilman exported defense articles regulated by the Arms Export Control Act. He exported to Ukraine items that are on the commerce control list as well as items with both defense and civilian uses that are subject to the Export Control Reform Act. Shilman never obtained the required export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

Shilman ordered and received firearm components and parts, ammunition, night-vision goggles and bulletproof vests from various vendors and firearms dealers in the United States. He received numerous wire transfers from overseas locations to pay for the purchase of these items. Shilman repackaged and shipped these munitions to overseas locations without the required export licenses.  

In September 2018, Shilman completed a Customs Declaration form at a U.S. Post Office in Middlesex County, New Jersey, on which he falsely represented that the contents of the parcel destined for Ukraine contained tools and cartridges. An inspection of the parcel revealed that it actually contained multiple upper receivers, ammunition magazines and threaded barrels for handguns and a set of front and rear sights for a handgun.

The conspiracy count with which Shilman is charged carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; and the U.S. Department of Commerce, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson, with the investigation leading to the arrests.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Thomas S. Kearney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit in Newark.

Updated April 18, 2023

Firearms Offenses
Foreign Corruption
Press Release Number: 19-150