Apex Boss Indicted on Bogus Helo Parts
Apex Manufacturing and its owner, Jack Harootunian, 48, have been indicted on mail fraud charges for illegally selling substandard and counterfeit helicopter parts to the U.S. military, resulting in the temporary grounding of 154 Sikorsky-built Black Hawks. If convicted, Harootunian could face up to 10 years in federal prison, and the company could face up to $1 million in fines and up to five years on probation, U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek said. Harootunian’s attorney, Donald Etra, said the criminal charges are unfounded. Apex produced several thousand rotor pins between 1997 and 1998 that were used on the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawks and the Air Force’s UH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters. The indictment alleges that Apex delivered more than 3,000 pins in 1998, knowing the parts had not been heat-treated as specified in the contract. In 2000 a U.S. Army medical unit in Hawaii reported the pins failed inspection. The military grounded all its UH-60 helicopters for more than a month to inspect the pins.