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July 01, 2009 

Tennessee Professor Sentenced to 48 Months in Prison for Export Control Violations

Today U.S. District Judge Thomas sentenced former University of Tennessee Professor John Reece Roth to 48 months in prison for violating the Arms Export Control Act. Following his release from prison, Roth, who is 72 years old, must serve two years of supervised release. Although he faced potential fines of more than $15 million, Judge Varlan did not impose any monetary penalties on Dr. Roth. The sentence was 15 months below the minimum suggested 63 month sentence contained in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The press release issued by the Justice Department announcing Dr. Roth's sentence can be found here.

Following the sentencing hearing, there was a bond hearing at 2 p.m. today to determine whether Dr. Roth should remain free on bond pending an appeal. The U.S. Attorney's office opposes Dr. Roth's defense counsel's request that he remain free on bond. At the bond hearing Judge Varlan indicated that he would consider Dr. Roth's motion for bond pending appeal and will render a decision in the coming weeks.

There are still two more sentences to be handed out in this case. Daniel Max Sherman, a University of Tennessee-trained physicist who was an employee, director and one of the original founders of Atmospheric Glow Technologies, Inc. , pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Sherman, who has been free on bond, will be sentenced in on July 17th. Sherman was a graduate student under Dr. Roth's supervision at the University of Tennessee and served as the lead scientist in the Air Force projects contracts at issue in this case.

One of Dr. Roth's alleged co-conspirators, Atmospheric Glow Technologies, Inc. (AGT) will be sentenced on August 27th. AGT, which filed last year for bankruptcy, was a plasma technology company located in Knoxville, Tennessee. AGT pleaded guilty in August 2008 to 10 counts of unlawfully exporting defense articles to a citizen of the People’s Republic of China in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

More details to follow as soon as they are available.


Michael Vick will do more time and pay more fines for dogfighting than Dr Roth will.

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