After admitting in court to attempted aircraft parts fraud, the owner and operator of a Tennessee helicopter sales and repair shop has been sentenced to time served—amounting to nearly eight months—in prison as well as three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. Richard Paul Harper, the owner of Apple International in Bristol and a UK citizen, must also surrender to immigration for deportation.
Harper admitted in a June 16 plea agreement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee that he obtained a helicopter with significant damage to its underbelly and switched its fuselage and data plate with that of one that had crashed in New Jersey. He then marketed the helicopter and tried to sell it to an undercover agent posing as an aircraft broker.
Harper was arrested in Los Angeles on January 24, when he returned to the U.S. to attend Heli-Expo 2020. He faced up to 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.