Flying Tigers, Inc. Of Marietta, PA Charged With Fraud And Obstruction Of Justice
A federal indictment was unsealed Tuesday charging a former airplane mechanical repair business in Marietta, PA, its president and two others in a fraud scheme involving aircraft inspections, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Jay Stout, 53, the president of Flying Tigers, Inc., Joel Stout, 31, both of Elizabethtown, PA, and Howard Gunter, 76, of New Bloomfield, PA, are charged with 29 counts including conspiracy, fraud involving aircraft parts, mail and wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
The indictment alleges that between October 2006 and October 2009, the defendants conspired to commit fraud by charging customers of Flying Tigers, Inc. for annual inspections of their aircraft that were not performed by FAA certified mechanics or, on some occasions, were not performed at all. Joel Stout was employed as the airplane mechanic. Howard Gunter, a retired FAA examiner, falsely certified the inspections. According to the indictment, Jay and Joel Stout conspired to prepare fraudulent certifications of annual inspections, and, on multiple occasions, Howard Gunter certified annual inspections for Flying Tigers, even though he had not actually performed those inspections. On other occasions, it is alleged that Jay Stout created fraudulent certifications containing the forged signature of a certified inspector who had not performed the annual inspection, or certified an annual inspection himself, although he was not authorized to do so.
It is further alleged 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 log books 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 receiving payments from customers. It is further alleged that after learning about the federal investigation, Jay Stout obstructed justice by altering airplane log books in order to conceal the fraudulent certifications.
If convicted, the defendants face substantial terms of imprisonment and criminal fines, three years supervised release and mandatory restitution.
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlene Fisk.