Bogus Parts Scam Yields 30-month Sentence

 - November 11, 2009, 10:26 AM

Three months ago the FAA issued an “Unapproved Parts Notification” for O-rings sold by Chatsworth Rubber and Gasket. Yesterday the owner of that company was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for selling uncertified rubber gaskets that were installed on Boeing 737s. Duane Lepire, 74, of Woodland Hills, Calif., was sentenced after pleading guilty last April to one count of fraud in the sale of aircraft parts. According to a statement issued by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, Lepire sold “commercial grade” O-rings to aircraft parts brokers by falsely claiming that the O-rings were certified for use in the manufacture of aircraft parts. The statement said Lepire “purchased the commercial grade O-rings–which are cheaper, do not require an aircraft quality manufacturing process, and are not sold with any type of certification–and repackaged them identifying them as having been manufactured by well-known aviation quality manufacturers.” When he sold the nonconforming O-rings, Lepire submitted bogus “certificates of conformance” and painted markings on the O-rings to make it appear as if they had been manufactured by aviation quality manufacturers. In rejecting Lepire’s plea for probation, Judge Otero noted the “devious” nature of the fraud and that Lepire had endangered the flying public.