...Prosecutors Will Prosecute

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Since 1998, the OIG has won convictions in more than 150 cases related to aviation safety, with total fines assessed of more than $27 million. Those investigations generally fall into four categories: the illegal manufacture or distribution of aircraft parts that do not meet FAA standards; charges of falsifying airman or mechanic certificates; false statements regarding the condition of aircraft or filing false aircraft certifications; and shipping or allowing the shipping of hazardous materials by air without proper certification. The OIG lists a digest of its convictions online. Some examples from that list: A Texas pilot got three months in jail in February 2003 for lying about a past DUI charge on his airman medical application. A Florida man was sentenced to a 15-month prison term in April 2004 for piloting a plane without a legitimate airman certificate and flying a plane with an unapproved modification to its fuel system. Another Florida man received 13 months in prison in January 2004 for making and using forged documents to get a job as a flight instructor under an assumed name. Yet not all convictions result in prison time. In March 2004, a Florida man who lied about his previous criminal convictions on an FAA application was ordered to spend four months in a halfway house and was prohibited from participating in aviation activities for two years. In September 2003, a man whose FAA certificate had been revoked in 1998 after a federal conviction for drug trafficking was fined $500 in a Wyoming federal court for operating an aircraft without a pilot's certificate.