On August 11, 2009, Knoxnews.com reported that Daniel Max Sherman, a 38-year old physicist, was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison for his involvement with a Knoxville company and former University of Tennessee professor, John Reece Roth, who violated the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) by allowing foreign nationals to have access to military-related technical information.
Sherman faced a potential sentence of five years in prison and $250,000 fine, but received a lesser sentence because of his cooperation in the federal investigation. He already served 14 months of his sentence. Roth, 73-year old former professor, was sentenced to four years in prison.
Roth, an expert in plasma research, was a subcontractor on a U.S. Air Force project awarded to Atmospheric Glow Technologies Inc. (AGT), a plasma technology company based in Knoxville and Sherman's employer. The project developed advanced plasma actuators for Air Force drones, which are covered by U.S. governing munitions. Both Roth and Sherman were involved in the project for which they allowed foreign and Chinese graduate students to work. Additionally, Roth was convicted of taking protected information with him on a lecture trip to China, a felony regardless of the intent.