Sixteen Charged with Selling Bad Aircraft Windows
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity and the FAA, has announced a 21-count indictment charging 16 defendants in connection with the continued operation of Aircraft Transparencies Repair (ATR) of Hialeah, Fla., after the FAA revoked the company’s operating certificate. ATR has presented itself as an overhauler of airliner cockpit windows.
The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, aircraft parts fraud, wire fraud and visa fraud. A conviction on the conspiracy count could carry a maximum statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The aircraft parts fraud carries a penalty of up to 15 years; wire and mail fraud, 20 years; and the visa fraud five years.
The indictment alleges that between August 2009 and August 2010 the defendants sold aircraft cockpit windows knowing the company was not authorized by the FAA to certify their airworthiness. The indictment goes on to say the defendants purchased “as removed” aircraft cockpit windows in the open market and then backdated numerous documents, including FAA Form 8130-3s, work orders and traceability documentation, to make it appear that the aircraft cockpit windows had been retrieved from ATR’s inventory while its FAA repair station certificate was still valid.
The defendants are also charged with altering the serial numbers on the aircraft cockpit windows that commercial aviation customers had sent to ATR to make it appear that the aircraft cockpit windows had come from inventory.
Lastly, the indictment alleges that the defendants created at least three different internal accounting records and logs to misrepresent the true business practices and financial condition of ATR to make it appear as if the company was no longer in the business of repairing and certifying the airworthiness of aircraft cockpit windows. Some of the defendants allegedly filed false unemployment compensation requests with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Unemployment Compensation Program, making it appear that ATR was out of business.
AIN’s attempts to contact Aircraft Transparencies Repair and the individuals under indictment for comment were unsuccessful.