Joel Stout (32) of Elizabethtown, Pa., pleaded guilty to seven counts of conspiracy and mail fraud involving the unauthorized certification of inspections of aircraft at Flying Tigers, a now defunct Marietta, Pa.-based MRO. Stout’s father, Jay Stout (53), president of the company, and retired FAA examiner Howard Gunter (76) have also been charged.
Last August the three were charged with 29 counts including conspiracy, fraud involving aircraft parts, mail and wire fraud and obstruction of justice. It was alleged at the time that Jay and Joel Stout would fraudulently bill customers for annual inspections by FAA-certified mechanics, but failed to make the required entries in the airframe and engine logbooks of those aircraft. Throughout this period, the defendants allegedly committed mail and wire fraud by mailing invoices containing charges for these fraudulently performed inspections and accepting payments from customers. The prosecutor further alleged that after learning about the federal investigation, Jay Stout obstructed justice by altering airplane logbooks to conceal the fraudulent certifications.
According to the States Attorney’s office, between October 2006 and October 2009 Joel Stout was employed as an airplane mechanic by Flying Tigers. His inspection authority certification expired on March 31, 2006. Flying Tigers performed annual inspections on aircraft, despite the absence of a certified mechanic with inspection authority. To conceal the absence of an IA, Flying Tigers, Joel Stout and his conspirators did not fill out the aircraft and engine logbooks, leaving no written record of the inspections, and forged the signature of a certified mechanic as having performed inspections.
Anna Durbin, Joel Stout’s attorney, told AIN that her client
“conscientiously performed his work” on all the airplanes.
“He pleaded guilty and took responsibility for his part in failures involving certifications and records. Since 2009, after he left Flying Tigers, he has done his best to comply with all laws and regulations. He apologizes for all the wrong he did. Mr. Stout will ask the judge, when exercising his discretion at sentencing, to take into account all the circumstances, including that Mr. Stout has not been accused of any safety violations,” she said. AIN’s attempts to contact Jay Stout and Howard Gunter for comment were unsuccessful.