Lancaster County Man Guilty of Falsifying Airplane Inspection Records

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A Lancaster County man, Joel Stout of Elizabethtown, pleaded guilty today to participating in a fraud conspiracy involving the unauthorized certification of inspections of aircraft at the Flying Tigers, Inc., a former airplane mechanical repair business in Marietta, PA.  Stout’s father, Jay Stout, the president of Flying Tigers, Inc., and Howard Gunter, a retired FAA examiner, are also charged in the scheme which involved aircraft parts and inspections.  Stout pleaded guilty to all seven counts of conspiracy and mail fraud charged.

Between October 2006 and October 2009, Joel Stout was employed as a Flying Tigers’ airplane mechanic.  His inspection authority certification had expired on March 31, 2006.  Flying Tigers performed annual inspections on aircraft, despite the absence of a certified mechanic with inspection authority.  In order to conceal the absence of an IA, Flying Tigers, Joel Stout and his conspirators: did not fill out the aircraft and engine log books, leaving no written record of the inspections; forged the signature of a certified mechanic as having performed inspections; arranged for Howard Gunter to sign off annual inspections despite the fact that he did not perform the inspections; or placed their own names in the log books as the authorized individual certifying the inspection.  The fraud also included billing customers for the inspections that were not properly certified.  Stout also committed mail and wire fraud by mailing invoices for the fraudulently performed inspections and receiving payments from customers.

U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle, III, scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 24, 2013.  Stout faces a possible statutory sentence of 20 years in prison for each mail fraud count and 5 years in prison for the conspiracy, a fine of up to $1.75 million, mandatory restitution and supervised release.