Floridians Plead Guilty To Fraudulent Parts Conspiracy
Four of the 16 individuals charged in connection with the continued operation of Aircraft Transparencies Repair (ATR) of Hialeah, Fla., after the FAA revoked the company’s operating certificate pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and wire fraud last month. Diego Garcia, Ivonne Portales, Chabela Anerios and Aileen Bermudez pleaded guilty to the charges at various times last month following a March 28 indictment.
Employees of Hialeah, Fla.-based Aircraft Transparencies Repair (ATR) and Transparencies Engineering Group (TEG), were charged with conspiracy to sell and falsely certify to commercial aviation customers the airworthiness of aircraft cockpit windows using FAA Form 8130-3 Authorized Release Certificates, work orders and traceability documentation knowing that they were not authorized by the FAA to certify the airworthiness of these windows.
In addition to the four who accepted the plea, the multi-count indictment was filed against Rangel Fernandez (president), Ivan Fernandez (vice president), Jerry Frystak (general manager), Dennis Romero (quality inspector), Lisbet Gonzalez (office manager), Luis Balarezo, Saul Hernandez, Hermes Reyes, Pedro Leon, Geovanni Hernandez and Francisca Diaz.
The FAA revoked ATR’s repair station certificate in July 2009. An investigation revealed that from approximately August 2009 to August 2010, ATR’s employees continued repairing aircraft cockpit windows.
As part of the scheme, ATR/TEG purchased “as removed” aircraft cockpit windows in the open market and backdated documents to make it appear to the customer that the windows had been retrieved from ATR or TEG’s inventory before ATR’s repair station certificate revocation.
Additionally, serial numbers on the windows that had been sent to ATR by its customers were changed to disguise the source of the windows and to further make it appear that all work had been performed before the repair station revocation.
The investigation was a joint effort of the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with substantial assistance from the FAA. Attempts to contact the individuals, ATR and TEG for comment were unsuccessful.