Scientist sentenced to 13 years

Stewart David Nozette, 54, a scientist who once worked for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the White House's National Space Council, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for attempted espionage, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.

The sentence covered charges in two cases. In one, Nozette pleaded guilty in September 2011 to attempted espionage for providing classified information to a person he believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. In the other, he pleaded guilty in January 2009 to fraud and tax charges stemming from more than $265,000 in false claims he submitted to the government.

The sentencing took place in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In addition to the prison term, the Honorable Paul L. Friedman ordered that Nozette pay more than $217,000 in restitution to the government agencies he defrauded.

Nozette has been in custody since his arrest for attempted espionage on Oct. 19, 2009. At the time, he was awaiting sentencing on the fraud and tax evasion charges. FBI agents arrested Nozette following an undercover operation in which he provided classified materials on three occasions, including one that formed the basis for his guilty plea. He was subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury. The indictment does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.

"Stewart Nozette's greed exceeded his loyalty to our country" said U.S. Attorney Machen. "He wasted his talent and ruined his reputation by agreeing to sell national secrets to someone he believed was a foreign agent. His time in prison will provide him ample opportunity to reflect on his decision to betray the United States."

"Stewart Nozette betrayed his country and the trust that was placed in him by attempting to sell some of America's most closely-guarded secrets for profit," said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. "Today, he received the justice he deserves. As this case demonstrates, we remain vigilant in protecting America's secrets and in bringing to justice those who compromise them. I thank the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked on this important case."

Published: Mon, Mar 26, 2012

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