Flying Tigers owner convicted in false aircraft inspection scheme

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A  federal jury in Philadelphia today found Jay Stout, 55, formerly of Elizabethtown and his company, Flying Tigers, Inc., guilty of conspiracy, fraud involving aircraft parts, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice.   A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Stout was president of Flying Tigers, a former airplane mechanical repair business located in Marietta, Lancaster County. He was indicted along with his son Joel, 33, also of Elizabethtown. Joel Stout previously pleaded guilty and will be sentenced May 6, 2014.

Prosecutors say between October 2003 and January 2010, Stout conspired with his son and others to commit fraud in aircraft parts, mail fraud, and wire fraud, by charging customers for the annual inspections of their aircraft, despite the absence of a certified mechanic with inspection authority, a certification given by the FAA. In order to conceal the absence of an authorized certification, Stout and Flying Tigers prepared fraudulent certifications of annual inspections for the airplane and engine log books or, on other occasions, failed to create the necessary certification at all. Some customers who brought their airplanes into Flying Tigers for annual inspections were charged for the inspection, but Flying Tigers never provided a signed certification in the airplane or engine log books recording the annual inspection.

By this method, the absence of the valid signature of a certified mechanic was not evident to the Flying Tigers customers. Other annual inspections were certified in the log books by Jay Stout, even though Jay Stout was no longer authorized to certify annual inspections. In other annual inspections, the signatures of certified mechanics with inspection authority were forged in the log books. Such was the case with one former Flying Tigers employee who left Flying Tigers in late 2006/early 2007, but whose forged or fraudulent signatures appear on certified annual inspections, both before the period that the former employee had his certification, and through October 2007, long after he stopped working for Flying Tigers. In addition, the fraudulent signature of Gilbert Stout, Jay Stout’s father, appeared on annual inspections many years after Gilbert Stout stopped working on aircraft, and the forged and fraudulent signature of Joel Stout, a Flying Tiger, Inc. employee and Jay Stout’s son, appeared on annual inspections that Joel Stout did not perform. Many airframe and engine log books, containing these and other entries, were shown to the jury during the trial.

When Jay Stout learned, in late 2007, that federal authorities were investigating the log book entries of Flying Tigers customers, Jay Stout intentionally altered log books in an effort to further conceal his fraud. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of 90 years in prison, possible restitution to his victims, and three years of supervised release.